Earlier this week I was honored to be awarded a grant by a wonderful organization called Ralph's Riders. Ralph's Riders was founded by Mayra Fornos in honor of her late husband Ralph who suffered a spinal cord injury soon after they were married. Undeterred by his injury and facing enormous obstacles, Ralph was determined to conquer his injury and make the world a better place. Ralph and Mayra even obtained their law degrees together and opened the law offices of Fornos & Associates where they had the goal of advocating for those who had sustained severe life altering injuries and standing up for those who had suffered discrimination because of their disability.
Ralph lived a productive, happy life, serving as a model not only for the disabled, but for all people. When he passed away from complications unrelated to his spinal cord injury, Mayra continued their law practice with the goals they had set out together.
In honor of Ralph, Mayra also founded Ralph’s Riders Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which enables individuals with spinal cord injuries/paralysis and mobility impairments to achieve their highest level of independence, health and personal fulfillment. Ralph’s Riders Foundation brings people living with a spinal cord injury together with those living with similar injuries who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and are living life at its fullest. One of the many unique aspects of Ralph’s Riders Foundation is how it joins with other nonprofit organizations, maximizing the use of resources in finding a central way to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
When Mayra called to tell me that Ralph's Riders would like to support me in my Para Equestrian endeavors I was blown away. She told me how they believed in what I was doing as something out of the box and thought I was a great mentor to other people. No matter the challenge, they've continued to see me pursue my goals with a smile on my face. They truly believed I could bring a unique view to Ralph's Riders and provide insight and resources to those looking for some guidance. In addition I could also be a great advocate for the mobility-impaired community.
I can't thank Mayra and Ralph's Riders enough for believing in my passion and dreams. It's something I've worked so hard for and to know that there's a group of people supporting me, some that I never knew before this last week, is an amazing feeling! I always think that when you focus on the positive in your life, good things will happen. This is just one example of that very thing!