Paralyzed Army vet finds success as an extreme sports pioneer, philanthropist

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by Tyler Baldwin

azfamily.com

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 23 at 2:20 PM

ANTHEM, Ariz. -- Darol Kubacz is a man on a mission -- a 207-mile mission. An Army veteran, Kubacz is an extreme-sports pioneer who developed a taste for the life after he was paralyzed from the mid-chest down while serving our country.

That was in 1995.

"I was totally incapacitated, surrounded by four walls," he said. "I couldn't see the daylight, didn't get to breathe fresh air or move my body. I was pretty broken up. During that time, I really gained a greater sense of appreciation for being able to be physically fit and in nature."

From water skiing and wake-boarding to paragliding, SCUBA diving and hand-cycling, Kubacz has pretty much tried it all. He even climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

"It took several years and a lot of hard work and great friends and community coming together to make it happen," he said. "It was a pretty amazing experience."

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Kubacz toned down some of his more dangerous activities after breaking his spine -- again. It happened while he was skiing.
"It was a huge blessing to have survived," he said. "I believe God didn't want me to expire at that point."

Kubacz is definitely an inspiration. He also is a philanthropist, currently working to raise money to help families living in poverty in Mexico.

He's taking part in a 207-mile, two-day bike event that starts in Peoria and ends in Rocky Point.

Using a specially designed bike, Kubacz will pedal those 207 miles with his arms.

"The arm muscles definitely aren't as large as the massive quads that you see on some professional and non-pro cyclists out there," he said. "It's a lot of work. It's definitely, for me, probably twice as hard to cover that kind of distance as somebody who is doing it on a two-wheel bike, with their legs.

"If I can ride my bike hard to help somebody earn a house … and kids will be able to sleeps safe and warm at night, that's extremely motivating for me," he said.

Kubacz will do the hard part, but he needs your help on this challenge. To make a contribution to his fundraising campaign, checkout 207miles.com/darol. Proceeds benefit 1MISSION, which helps people earn homes by serving their communities.

Kubacz has set a goal of $4,500.

The 207Miles event is Feb. 8.

 

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