BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - It was a perfect Sunday morning for the annual Stand Among Friends' emb(race) 5k, 10k and one-mile family walk at Florida Atlantic University.
"Emb(race) is just a phenomenal event we've been able to put together where the communities come out and really, not to be cliché, but embraced our differences and really helped to improve opportunities for people in our community with disabilities," said Shawn Friedkin, Stand Among Friends' founder & CEO.
Friedkin was not even 30 when an accident injury left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Catching up with him before a fundraiser ride for emb(race) at Flywheel Boca, he tells me not only has he learned to thrive with his disability, he has helped more than 1,200 people through his non-profit organization. "There's one guy who had a spinal cord injury, was married and had children. [He] went from being the bread winner to not being able to take care of his family. His wife was working with two young children. Through the help of our services, he got back into the workforce. He's earning something close to $100,000 a year. His wife no longer has to work. She's able to stay home and take care of the kids. He regained his since of who he was and his pride."
Just one example of how Stand Among Friends is helping so many prepare, find and maintain employment. "We have a large assistant technology program where we'll actually asses people's needs, identify the equipment they need, install it, train them on how to use it."
With 1,200 participants, this year's race is a testament of how our community is striving to emb(race) our differences. "We want to thank everybody for embracing us and the city of Boca Raton, Flywheel and Raw Juice for coming out and helping us make a difference in the lives of people living with disabilities."
Sunday's race raised more than $130,000. For those needing assistance, visit standamongfriends.org.