Steve Baker thought his life was over when a motorcycle crash left him paralyzed five years ago. Then he discovered the Impossible Dream, a sailing group with a fully wheelchair-accessible, 60-foot catamaran.
"It lets you take your life back," Baker said. "We show people with disabilities that their life doesn't have to be limited."
Now the Florida resident is part of the mission to empower others in wheelchairs. The crew of the Impossible Dream, which made its first voyage in the summer of 2015, spends the summers sailing up the East Coast from Miami, offering free sailing trips to wheelchair users at places where it docks along the four-month journey. The boat is equipped with features that make it welcoming for users on wheels, such as a lift, extra handles, low countertops, and a deck that allows wheelchairs space to turn.
On Wednesday, the catamaran came to Philadelphia to celebrate the Fourth of July and then on Thursday, took former patients from Magee Rehabilitation Hospital out sailing. The experience was "a bucket-list day" for Lisa Haring-Davner of Montgomery County.
"I wanted to come down [to sail] at Memorial Day, but I couldn't find anything that was handicap-accessible," Haring-Davner said. "I just wanted to come out on the water, wheelchair and all."