As Jim describes it, he was "dead on arrival". That was the diagnosis given to Jim MacLaren in Bellevue Hospital after being hit by a bus on his motorcycle and spending several days in a coma. When he woke from his coma, he was missing his left leg below the knee.
Jim was down, but not out. He decided to move forward and learn to live as an athlete with a disability. He learned to swim and run on a prostetic leg. He entered and completed the NYC Marathon in 3 hours and 16 minutes. He entered and finished the grueling Ironman triathlon in Hawaii with a time of 10 hours and 42 minutes.
If the story ended there, it would be an amazing tale of come-back and triumph over tragedy. But just eight years after the first accident, in 1993, during the Orange County Triathlon, MacLaren was struck by a van during the cycling portion of the race and collided with a signpost, which left him a quadriplegic.
Complications from that condition ultimately led to his death in 2010. However, for 17 years after that second accident, MacLaren fought back as he always had, and became a renowned motivational speaker and author.
"There are times I don't like the way my life went, but that doesn’t mean that I'm not in love with life," said the 43-year-old motivational speaker who created the Choose Living Foundation. He continued: "Is it fair what's happened to me? No, of course not. So what? I still have to get up in the morning. By engaging life, by moving what few muscles I have, my bed suddenly becomes an exercise mat."
MacLaren never was one to shy away from his challenges and obstacles. He launched the Choose Living Foundation in 2005 and went around speaking to others about moving forward in your life after tragedy. He also attained two masters' degrees and was working on his Ph.D. in depth psychology. MacLaren considered himself blessed not only because of the enlightenment achieved through his recoveries, his studies and self-exploration, but also because was able to share those experiences with others through his speaking engagements.
Later that year in 2005, Jim was honored by ESPN when he received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2005 ESPY Awards along with Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. The onslaught of media attention that followed this award included televised apperance with Jim Rome and Oprah Winfrey.
To read more about Jim, visit his website: www.jimmaclaren.com