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I am LRO: Engracia Figueroa

Engracia Figueroa

Engracia Figueroa

In July of 1992, Engracia Figueroa experienced a day she would never forget. While walking to work, she fainted and was struck by a train that resulted in a C6-7 spinal cord injury and above-the-knee amputation of her left leg. Learning of LRO over the internet, but still hesitant to sign up over a year ago, with an offer of free transportation from Rollx Vans, she had no reason to turn it down. We invite you to learn more about Engracia, and how her 40th birthday inspired her to push possibilities with Life Rolls On.

Life Rolls On is pleased to introduce readers to incredible participants of its quality of life programs. In this edition, meet Los Angeles, California's Engracia Figueroa, whose experience with Life Rolls On was more than just a day at the beach, but a life altering moment where she built relationships that will last for a lifetime.

LRO: How were you injured?
EF: In July 1992, while on my way to work when I was 22 years-old, I fainted, fell and was hit by a BART train in the San Francisco Bay area. As a result, I have a C6-7 spinal cord injury with a left above-the- knee amputation.

LRO: We're honored that you participated in the first They Will Surf Again of 2011 in Huntington Beach. Tell us why you decided to join us.
EF: I found LRO on the web a year ago and contemplated for a year about whether surfing was for me. Then I turned 40 and realized my life is about finding challenges and meeting them head-on.

LRO: People often say their experience at They Will Surf Again is more than just a day of surfing. What did this experience mean to you?
EF: It is a life altering moment and a good, if not great, moment. To experience it with so many people that share the same goal...surf is beautiful! Seeing the smiles on everyone in and out of the water is lovely. You cheered for everyone that faced the challenge and a special cheer for the teams helping you.

Engracia Figueroa with the Blue Team

Engracia Figueroa with the Blue Team

LRO: How did you enjoy surfing with Team Blue?
EF: My team leader Dave King is amazing! He along with Tracy, John, Suwannee and so many more to mention made you feel comfortable; and if there was a fear, it was quelled immediately.

LRO: Rollx Vans recently became the official transportation sponsor for They Will Surf Again and we noticed you were able to take advantage of their complimentary pick-up and drop-off service. How did this work out for you?
EF: Ron at Rollx Vans called to say they could transport me in my power chair to the event and back for free. I was worried about my chair being so large, but he and LRO assured me that would not be an issue. This service allowed me to attend the event.

LRO: Would you have been able to attend if the ride wasn't available?
EF: Unfortunately, I would have been beholden to figure out public transportation. The time it would take to get there would have taken all day.

LRO: What are your words of advice for people who are hesitant to come out and surf for the first time with us?
EF: Nike says it best - JUST DO IT! If you have survived ANY disability you've done A LOT; now it's time for personal challenges and surfing needs to be one of them. You'll find you have a new and positive mindset.

Engracia Figueroa

Engracia Figueroa surfing

LRO: Are you looking forward to attending the May 20 TWSA-OC post event fundraiser at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach? You must be excited to see photos from the event and meet some of the amazing volunteers that helped you surf that day.
EF: I'm still STOKED and looking forward to attending the post-TWSA event to see everyone again.

LRO: Will we be seeing you at TWSA again this summer - in July at Zuma Beach or September down in La Jolla Shores?
EF: I will be at both TWSA events in Zuma Beach and La Jolla Shores. I'm so hooked on surfing you can't get rid of me yet...

If you would like to participate in Life Rolls On's They Will Surf Again, please sign up at www.LifeRollsOn.org/TWSA.