Meet Spirit of Ability Award Winner Barry Munro
Twenty-four-year-old Barry Munro pulled off his shirt and dove into the blue lake in northern Ontario. It was a perfect dive, one he had performed dozens of times. But the summer of 1987 had been a dry one, making water levels several inches lower than usual. Barry's head struck a rock that had been obscured below the water's surface. Without the many friends around who pulled him out to safety, Barry is sure he would have drowned.
A doctor told Barry he would never walk again, and Barry sat dumbstruck in his bed, scarcely believing the news. He later relayed the conversation with his nurse and said he didn't believe the doctor's words. The nurse surprised him by saying, "Okay. What do you need to do?"
This nurse, without realizing it, set a path for Barry's future that involved a lifelong dedication to spinal cord research. In the decades since, he's become an advocate pushing for increased consumer focus on and participation in neurotrauma research. He was twice awarded the Queen's Jubilee Award for outstanding citizenship and previously served as the Chief Development Officer at the Canadian Spinal Research Organization.
It seemed only fitting that Barry should also be the recipient of the Ralph W. Braun Spirit of Ability Award, an award given to people who work for the betterment of the disability community.
A licensed personal injury lawyer by trade, Barry is no stranger to advocacy. He calls the accident part of his "destiny" and says it helped him understand why he was put on Earth. Now his work has the ability to affect everyone, and he makes it clear he won't rest until he and others can walk again.
"It's sort of a selfish motive," he says without remorse. "I do want to walk again. But I also believe it's my moral obligation to give back to the next generation. My kids and [anyone's kids] shouldn't have to go through what I've gone through in this day and age."
Barry accepted the Spirit of Ability Award on behalf of the thousands of people who share his passion to find a cure for paralysis. He was fittingly presented the honor by Sam Schmidt, a fellow quadriplegic who has his own foundation, Conquer Paralysis Now, with the same mission. With these two men leading the charge to find a way to walk again,paralysis doesn't stand a chance.
Other Owner Stories:
- The Early History of BraunAbility
- BraunAbility Helps A Teacher Return to Class
- Adventurous Customer Defies Their Handicap
- Ben Trockman
- BraunAbility Customer Wins All-Star Award
- Respect Blue Spaces Winner Gives Camp Attitude a Boost
- Convenience Makes a Comeback
- ESPN's Story "Picking Up Butch" Gets National Media Attention
- "Freedom" by Scott Drotar
- Indiana Family Proud Owners of a Honda Entervan
- Head Coach of Team USA Wheelchair Rugby Team Trusts BraunAbility
- Jesse Billauer
- Jason Gerling, The Wheelchair Drummer: Part 1
- Jason Gerling, The Wheelchair Drummer: Part 2
- Mike Delancey
- Neural Prosthetics Got Her On Her Feet Again
- Meet Spirit of Ability Award Winner Barry Munro
- Mother With a Disability Finds Hope in Two Disabled Sons
- My Road to Driving Independence
- Rachelle Chapman
- Robin Allen
- Fishing and Wheelchair Vans
- Travis Roy
- The Truth About Living with a Rare Disease
- Spirit of Ability Winner Triumphs over SCI
- Tom Turner's More Than 30 Years of Friendship
- Third Spirit of Ability Recipient Honored in Toronto
- Reveca Torres
- Sam Schmidt to Help Unveil New Hand and Foot-Free Corvette
- Sam Schmidt: Mobility Visionary and Real-Life Superman
- Young Customer Gives BraunAbility an A+ Grade
- Zach Anner
- Wheelchair Vans: Five and Counting!
- Wheelchair Accessible Van is the Answer to Grandparents' Prayers
- Adam Gorlitsky
- Josh Fugate's Owner Story
- Antonio Dowels, Local Hero, Receives His Van
- First Entervan XT Owner is eXTra happy!
- Lacrosse Team Scores Big for a Deserving Family
- Life Happens Together, Just Ask Lauren Gross
- Paralyzed Coach Receives Wheelchair Van at Halftime
- Wheelchair Van Funding: Patience and Persistence Pay Off
- "Praise the Lowered?" Absolutely!
- A Rampvan for a Pharmacist and Her Service Dogs
- Wheelchair Marathoning: 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks