On March 25, 1996, on the verge of becoming a professional surfer, Jesse Billauer was surfing at his local break at Zuma Beach in California when he was pushed headfirst into the shallow sandbar, fracturing his neck. Billauer sustained a C-6 complete spinal cord injury, which resulted in quadriplegia. He lost the ability to walk and had limited mobility of his arms and hands. Jesse left the hospital and immediately knew two things: he had to surf again and he had to help others be inspired to follow their passions.
As founder of Life Rolls On Foundation, Jesse now serves as the organization's Executive Director and CEO. "LRO is an avenue to hope, independence, freedom, happiness, inspiration, and teamwork," he explains. "It is about bringing people together and changing lives one day, one program, and one person at a time. Each of LRO's amazing programs offers the opportunity for the physically disabled to open their minds, help them forget about their challenges and to be thankful for the opportunity to still be alive."
Featured in the surf epic, "Step Into Liquid," Jesse's life has also been made into an award-winning feature film, "Jesse's Story." Recipient of numerous awards including Nike's Casey Martin Award, Open Hearts Foundation's Sports Award, and the Malibu Surfing Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, Billauer inspires millions of people each year through speaking engagements and television appearances.
Letter from Jesse
As of September 1st 2013, Life Rolls On has officially returned to its original establishment and is no longer a subsidiary of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. As Founder, I have assumed the role of Executive Director/CEO of Life Rolls On. With this exciting change in place, you will be able to come directly to me with any questions regarding how to get involved, support and participate in the movement of LRO.
We will be releasing the 2014 calendar of events soon, which will include the dates for at least seven They Will Surf Again events, two They Will Skate Again events, a Poker Tournament, a Golf Tournament, a CrossFit/5k Fundraiser, a Night by the Ocean gala, and more.
This year marks the 17th year since I was injured at the age of 17. As we venture together with the next chapter of LRO I am beyond excited for what lies ahead. LRO has such an unbelievable family (you!) who not only share my passion, but are dedicated to helping continue the growth and expansion of Life Rolls On.
I truly urge you to reach out to me in person, by phone or by email. I take pride in being extremely accessible and available to anyone that wants to get involved. Thank you for taking this journey with me.