In this episode, Dr. David Hanscom talks with Deborah Mellen. In 1989 Deborah’s life changed in an instant when she was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident in Italy. Then, two years later her husband died from a heart attack. It was after her injury when she moved to Miami for her rehabilitation that she fell in love with sailing through the organization, Shake-A-Leg, a nonprofit adaptive watersports center located in Miami, FL. She shares her story and discusses how she found the courage and strength to move forward through a dark period, to heal and discover an entirely new life helping others.
It was after finding her community and passion through sailing that Deborah purchased the Impossible Dream - the only catamaran designed from the keel up to be universally accessible. It was out of her vision the Impossible Dream Inc., a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit was born. The organization’s primary mission is to raise awareness of barrier-free design and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through sailing.
Every summer, Deborah and the Impossible Dream travel over 4,000 miles from Miami to Maine and back, stopping in over a dozen ports to collaborate with the nation’s leading rehabilitation hospitals, advocacy organizations, and disability groups. At each stop, the Impossible Dream offers patients, participants, and their families the opportunity for daysails around local waters at no cost to guests. During the sails, participants converse with crew members, explore the universal design features of the vessel, and simply enjoy a day out on the water with loved ones. The daysails on the Impossible Dream serve as a foundation for members of the disabilities community to explore innovation, outdoor recreation, alternative rehabilitation, community building, and foster independence. Learn more at: www.theimpossibledream.org