I Will Work And Find The Courage To Shine

Editor’s Note: Thomas Exler, the president of the Association for the Bladder Exstrophy Community (ABC) , also is the chairman and founder of Courage to Shine, an organization created to provide information for others, like Exler, who have found ways to overcome their problems and become successful people. As Exler explains, “I was lucky to find role models who showed me that nothing’s impossible for people like me. But not everyone has the opportunity to meet others who have led highly visible, successful and rewarding lives in spite of their disabilities. That’s why we created Courage to Shine – to introduce individuals to other people with similar challenges and to provide a forum and a webpage where individuals can find role models who have demonstrated that there are no limits for people with physical challenges.” Part 5 of a 5-part series.

Tom Exler says that Courage to Shine will allow those with disabilites to never hold back!

Tom Exler says that Courage to Shine will allow those with disabilites to never hold back!

For the first year or two of Courage to Shine’s existence, our main goal is to reach out to people with urinary defects. We’ll also have articles about other types of challenges and the people who have had these problems and still have achieved great things with their lives. Since Courage to Shine has started with the bladder exstrophy community, we initially will be targeting young people with urinary birth defects and their parents. However, we want to show great examples of individuals who never have let their medical challenges hold them back or prevent them from becoming great.

One of the heroes I admired when I lived in Pittsburgh was Rocky Bleier, who played as a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bleier was wounded inVietnam and had shrapnel in his foot from that injury. He had to take a whole season off, because of medical problems relating to that injury. Here was a guy playing professional football at the highest levels of competition who had a serious injury. After the injury, Rocky Bleier was a running back who got tackled and blocked by other great football players. But Bleier excelled and became one of the greatest football players in the world, not because of his injury, but in spite of it.

Also when I was young, I met Fred Rogers, the host of the “Mr. Rogers” children’s showon public television for many years. He had medical challenges that he had to overcome, and yet he was known and loved by millions of young people. I thank all role models who are attempting to live up to a higher moral standard. Most of the people we’ll be featuring on Courage to Shine have high morals.

I also met a young lady in Iceland, Bjork Gisladottir, who rides Icelandic horses. Bjork grew up without anyone knowing what medical problem she had, and she spent a good deal of her life in the hospital in Iceland. One day we’re hoping she’ll share her story on Courage to Shine.

Bjork Gisladottir with her trusty Icelandic horse.

Bjork Gisladottir with her trusty Icelandic horse.

Rolf Benirschke played football and was a place kicker for the San Diego Chargers, but at the height of his career, had to have surgery for ulcerative colitis and have his colon removed. He eventually came back and continued to play football. These people all have had success in spite of their medical problems. Although none of these people have had a birth defect similar to mine, I still look up to them. As I look back on my life, I know I’ve wanted to find other people like me with bladder exstrophy who have achieved success, despite their medical conditions.

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

4 Responses to I Will Work And Find The Courage To Shine

  1. Thank you UroMed for helping to promote Courage to Shine

  2. Reblogged this on Courage to Shine™ and commented:
    From UroMed Hometown Heroes – Originally posted on January 30, 2012

  3. Pingback: THOMAS EXLER – Founder & Chairman of Courage to Shine « Courage to Shine™

  4. Pingback: Thomas Exler – My Story – From Stomawise & UroMed Hometown Heroes « ABC Update Online

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