A Custom Board Allows a Wheelchair-Bound Teen to Surf Again

The following story comes from Frank Springer, whose son Jared has been in a wheelchair ever since a brain tumor rendered him unable to use the right side of his body. Jack’s Helping Hand pitched an idea to a team of Cal Poly students taking a Rehabilitation Engineering course to design a custom surfboard for Jared. The team was excited to take on the project, and their efforts have brought back – in a small way – Jared’s ability to enjoy one of his favorite activities.

“Jared’s passion has always been to surf! Before his brain cancer, hemorrhage and stroke he spent 4 or 5 days a week in the water catching waves.

Since coming home from the hospital Jared’s friends, family and I have been taking him surfing. We usually ride on the board with him and try to help him stay on. It works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't.

When we heard Jack’s Helping Hand was partnering with Cal Poly Engineering to create a surfboard that would allow Jared to be supported, stay on and ride solo we got excited about the idea. Jared met with the team from Cal Poly a couple of times and they came up with a solution based on Jared’s disabilities and abilities. They factored in the type of board, size, the waves, positioning and how best to support his body.

Last Saturday we took Jared out in the ocean, helped him get on the new Jack’s Helping Hand surf board, pushed him out into the ocean and away he went on the first wave. It worked!

This journey has not been without its challenges. Some days are good and some days are really hard. Last Saturday was one of those good days.

Support like we receive from JHH has encouraged us and put smiles on our faces, especially Jared’s. We can’t say thank you enough.”

Jack’s Helping Hand supports families in our community whose children have cancer, special needs and disabilities. You can learn more about their programs and services at jackshelpinghand.org.

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