GFA 2017 Charles T. Kuntzleman Accepting the Challenge Finalists

Cheryl Angelelli

Paralympic medal winner, World Record holder and Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame inductee are just a few of Cheryl Angelelli’s accomplishments after a tragic accident in a swimming pool in 1983 left her a quadriplegic. At the time, some may have thought a promising athletic career was cut short. For Angelelli, it was just beginning.

She returned to the pool and made the 2000 Paralympic Swim Team. Since then she has returned twice, earning a pair of bronze medals at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens and a pair of silver medals at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. A seven-time world champion, Angelelli is one of Michigan’s most decorated Paralympians. Her 15 American Records and two World Records remain unbroken. 

Angelelli is currently the director of marketing and public relations for DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, where she serves as a source of inspiration and motivation to newly disabled patients. Angelelli also sits on the board of directors for the Brain Injury Association of Michigan and MY Youth Sled Hockey.  Her friends say that Cheryl’s determination sends the message to all that nothing should stop you or slow you down.

___________________

Pam Buschle

In 2013, Pam was rushed to the emergency room following a routine surgery where she learned she had a rare form of Sepsis.  She was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and in order to survive, she had to make the decision to amputate both her arms and legs to redirect blood flow to her vital organs.  Pam pushes herself physically and mentally as a reminder that her amputations don’t slow her down. “It makes me focus on everything that I can do,” Buschle said of her active life.  “It helps me to remain positive and know that I can do anything that I choose to do, I may just have to do it differently.” Since completing therapy, Pam stayed involved with the rehabilitation hospital through volunteer opportunities and adaptive clinics.  Dr. Stephen Bloom, a psychiatrist at Mary Free Bed, said that’s how Buschle is wired.  “She’s just become a champion for the disabled,” Bloom said. “It’s just thrilling for me and our Mary Free Bed community to have someone who is so motivated, so outspoken, so graceful help us try to spread the work of rehabilitation.”

____________________

Wayne Roberts

In the 1960s, Wayne Roberts was an overweight, out of shape smoker studying physical education at Northern Michigan University.  After giving it much thought, he realized he didn’t want to set a bad example for his students. He said, “Once I started running, everything in my life changed.” In January of 1980, as a 68-year-old cross country coach, he decided to see how many days in a row he could go for at least a three mile run.  “My first goal was to run every day for 50 years and not miss a day and run over 100,000 miles,” Roberts said. He currently stands at 76,851. This past October, Roberts' 13,459th consecutive day of running, he put on his bright orange jacket and headed out for his afternoon run in Moore Township, and didn’t return. He wound up in a ditch, the victim of a hit-and-run accident that caused a traumatic brain injury and a devastating end to his run streak. With care from his wife, Sandra and the support of the athletes he coached, Roberts' body and mind began to heal.