Yesterday, we attended a brunch at the Galen Center at USC where Marty was introduced as one of the 2015 Swim With Mike scholarship recipients. 36 years ago, Mike Nyeholt, a member of the USC swim team, was paralyzed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident. Mike was a three-time All American Swimmer, ranked ninth in the US, 13th in the world, and a competitor in the 1976 Olympic trials. His teammates organized a Swim-a-thon to raise money to purchase a specially equipped van for Mike. The event was extremely successful and, at Mike’s suggestion, the excess funds beyond the cost of his van were used to create the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund, the only one of its kind in the country.
You will see Mike pictured below with Marty, his mom and dad, and Ron Orr, Mike’s
former roommate, who heads up the Swim With Mike scholarship program at USC. The entire class of 2015 Scholarship recipients posed outside. All were athletes before their injuries when their lives took a dramatic turn.
August 12, 2015 was the third anniversary of Marty’s injury. That day is rather crushing, emotionally, for all of us very close to Marty. All of the people you see in the picture above experienced a similar day where in an instant their lives as they knew them were changed forever. Each has battled not only devastating physical challenges, but emotional ones as well.
What was so special was that each of these brave people above have chosen to move forward in a positive way, and are are overcoming tremendous odds by pursuing their educational goals.
On August 27th, Marty began his first class at Chapman University with the end goal of earning his Masters Degree in Business Administration. Kind of a big deal, right?
In the spirit of our mission to help others who have experienced debilitating injuries, the Marty O’Connor Foundation for Progress is excited to become life long supporters of the Swim With Mike Organization.