In 1976, Dick Traum, an above-the-knee amputee, found himself approaching middle age and out of shape. After joining a local YMCA, Dick began running – small distances at first and then, eventually several miles. Within a year, Dick became the first amputee to run the New York City Marathon. The experience was life-changing, bringing a powerful sense of achievement and self-esteem. In 1983, seeking to provide that same opportunity to other people with disabilities, Dick created the Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International.
Today, this non-profit organization has chapters and members in over 65 locations within the United States and abroad. Every day, in parks, gyms, and tracks all over the world, Achilles provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support. Within this community, runners gain measurable physical strength and build confidence through their sense of accomplishment, which often transfers to other parts of their lives.
While Achilles programs focus on athletics, the truth is, sports are simply the tool for accomplishing the main objective: to bring hope, inspiration and the joys of achievement to people with disabilities.