Rob Heitz, a former paraplegic, he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco.
In August, 2022 Rob braved the icy, choppy waters and strong currents of the San Francisco Bay and swam over a mile to Aquatic Park.
This was a huge accomplishment, especially for a man who had been paralyzed from the chest down, unable to move his limbs.
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A Chicagoan, 41-year-old Rob had a severe accident nearly 20-years-ago.
He became paraplegic from diving into shallow water, hitting the sand and severely fracturing his cervical spine.
Rob Heitz and an X-ray of Rob Heitz's neck, showing the titanium screws and plates holding his vertebrae together. Photo: chicago.suntimes.com
He nearly drowned.
In the hospital, the initial diagnosis was permanent paraplegic, bed sores and lifetime care.
It seemed hopeless. But after an extensive regiment, Rob's recovery began when he was able to wiggle his toes.
"The first time that I moved something ... obviously for me it was enormous," Rob told NBC News.
Stage by grueling stage, his recovery continued.
Rob Heitz prepares to swim in Lake Michigan on his final training run before traveling to California. Photo: chicago.suntimes.com
Now, nearly 20-years-later Rob's friends, including the one who saved him from drowning were there to support him as he made that formidable Alcatraz swim.
"The imagery of Alcatraz as a prison and the feeling of the experience of being paralyzed - it feels like being in prison - and it seems like a fitting end to the story."
Yet there is more. In 2018 Rob started the Paralysis Recovery Foundation.
His non-profit Foundation provides support to non-profit clinics that help paralyzed people in their quest for recovery or a better life.
For Rob is a messenger of hope, determined to help others in dire circumstances like those he once faced.
To learn more nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/formerly-paralyzed-man-swims-from-alcatraz-with-a-powerful-message-146765381659, paralysisfoundation.org/ and youtube.com/watch?v=VRn83IrrXvE.
Thank you to Nice News for informing us of this remarkable story.
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