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"Little Things We Take For Granted."

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Mike AlpertMike Alpert

Last Saturday evening, I was privileged to attend the 8th Annual Be Perfect Foundation fundraiser in La Verne, California. The event is held to raise awareness and funds to assist people with Spinal Cord injuries and other forms of paralysis. Over 1,000 people came together for an evening of entertainment, food and dancing, and over $500,000 was raised.

During the evening, several people were able to share their story and journey from active everyday lifestyle to paralysis to recovery.

The last speaker was Victoria Arlan, who many of you will remember from Dancing With The Stars. At a very young age, Victoria came down with a very rare disease that left her paralyzed from the neck down and in a vegetative state for years. The doctors told her parents that not only would she never walk again, but that she also would most likely need to be put in a home and cared for the rest of her life. Everyone had pretty much written her off, except for her parents who agreed to never give up.

Four years ago, Victoria and her mother came out to The Claremont Club and spent several hours with me, asking about our program and The Perfect Step. At the time, Victoria was still in a wheelchair but had just competed and earned a Gold Medal in swimming in the Paralympics. She and her family opened a Project Walk franchise in Boston, and as of today, have helped hundreds of people who struggle with spinal cord/paralysis problems.

"Little things we take for granted."

Seeing Victoria on stage, walking on her own and knowing that she now works with ESPN was so very uplifting. So that, and hearing from all the other people who shared their journey and knowing the incredible courage and perseverance they demonstrate every day, left me with the topic of my article this month: "Little things we take for granted."

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