When Jeff Glasbrenner was 8 years old, he lost his leg in an accident at his family’s Wisconsin farm.
“I left the hospital and the doctors confirmed my biggest fears. They told me I could no longer swim, they told me I could no longer run,” he said. “The sad thing about that is I, believed all the things they told me. … When I first lost my leg, I was put on the sidelines of life.”
Instead, with the help of his eight prosthetic legs, Golden-based Glasbrenner has completed 25 full Ironman competitions, competed in three Paralympic Games, holds the world-record for basketball scores (which at 63 points and 27 rebounds actually beats Lebron James’ best ever game) and summited Mount Everest for the first time this past May.
“All of us go through struggles in life, all of us encounter obstacles, but one obstacle that none of us should have to go through is not having access to an artificial limb,” Glasbrenner added.
On Tuesday, Chicago-based Range of Motion Project, in partnership with GoPro, threw a fundraiser to honor Glasbrenner and help more people get that critical access.
Range of Motion Project (ROMP) supplies live-enhancing artificial limbs, rehab and prosthetic training to impoverished amputees around the world. Many of their South and Central American patients would live their whole lives without an adaptive limb, if not for ROMP.
In the 11 years since its founding, ROMP has provided patients with more than 4,500 custom-made limbs and operates facilities in the U.S., Guatemala and Ecuador.
Earlier this year, GoPro, the tech company best known for its portable cameras, approached ROMP about making it their featured nonprofit for their holiday “GoPro for a Cause.” They traveled to Guatemala in June to make three short films documenting the power of prosthetics through ROMP workers and patients.
After a screening of a segment of one of GoPro’s films, the more than 100 attendees at Tuesday’s philanthropic auction were invited to donate to help ROMP supply its facilities with new 3D printers, vans or prosthetic parts for the more than 300 patients on ROMP’s waiting list for artificial limbs.
Glasbrenner, along with Chris Warner, Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and owner of Colorado based EarthTreks Climbing, invited the audience to give generously to the cause.
Lauren Panasewicz, director of events for ROMP, said the event raised about half of the $50,000 goal, but thanks to GoPro, all donations that night and through Dec. 31, will be matched.
Aside from donating, Panasewicz said there were other ways to get involved.
ROMP has multiple volunteer opportunities in and around Colorado and also encourages the able-bodied to leverage their mobility to help amputees by participating in the Climbing for ROMP and Moving for ROMP campaigns.
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