Eric LeGrand's annual A Walk to Believe event raises $120K
It was a successful day from start to finish as 1,200 people came out to High Point Solutions Stadium at Rutgers University to support the 7th annual A Walk to Believe and of course, Eric LeGrand to help move one step closer to a cure.
"It's crazy that it's here. All the work that's put into it, all the behind the scenes is all paid into fruition now," LeGrand said. "And I can't wait to see everyone out there."
It's been six and half years since his life-altering hit on the football field, but LeGrand, 26, continues to make game-changing plays including annual A Walk to Believe.
"It's crazy to think all just started off as one event that we thought maybe we'll have one year," he said. "Now, it turned into this annual thing, that we're just getting bigger and better."
The 5K fun run and walk is special because it's all about raising money and awareness to help the 5.4 million people living with paralysis.
"It's so meaningful because these are the people that are walking and running for the people that can't," LeGrand said.
Joining Eric this year are friends from the Spinal Cord Injury community, who are at all stages of their journeys.
"We all have different stories and different backgrounds, but we all believe we will walk again," LeGrand said.
Adam Taliaferro is a living testament to that. The former Penn State football player was paralyzed after an on-field injury in 2000. He was only given a 3 percent chance to walk again, but he believed.
"No one person can do it on their own. I had community support and my parents," Taliaferro said. "That's why I love coming here. It's amazing seeing that support for Eric hasn't gone away after 7 years. If we can help one person succeed and get out of their chair, then we can just branch it out across the country."
Ron Gold was hit by a car five years ago while biking. This year, he raised more than $14,000 to help lead Team LeGrand past their fundraising goal.
"I have a lot of friends, and they all want to help me," Gold said. "And through me, they want to help anyone who's in a chair get up and get out."
"We broke [$100,000]. I'm glad to announce that. That was my goal -- to break 100," LeGrand said. "It just goes to show you everyone stepped up their game this year, their fundraising efforts, and it just truly means the world to me.
That money will go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
"We are applying it to very rigorous research, to help get to the finish line," President and CEO Peter Wilderotter said.
While the day was full of positivity and belief, the $120,000 that Team LeGrand raised is now more important than ever. The Trump administration's 2018 budget plan proposes to eliminate all funding for the Paralysis Resource Center.
Those who want to petition Trump's budget plan on the elimination of the funding to the Paralysis Resource Center can do so by signing on the Reeve Foundation website here.