Injured Atlee athlete, graduate pays it forward

Posted on Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 11:02 am

Monday will mark three years since that fateful day at the James River when Cole Sydnor’s life changed forever.

Cole Sydnor surrounded by friends at Shepherd Center in Atlanta as he stands in an Indego Exoskeleton, the first quadriplegic ever to test this device.

Cole Sydnor surrounded by friends at Shepherd Center in Atlanta as he stands in an Indego Exoskeleton, the first quadriplegic ever to test this device.

But it’s not what happened, or even pondering what happened then that fills Sydnor’s days now. Instead, the determined 19-year-old, now a student at the University of Richmond, is in the final stages of planning a day-long fundraising event to help people just like him.

The Roll With Cole Sport-A-Thon is Saturday at locations throughout Atlee. Beginning with a 5K run through Kings Charter and including a swim-a-thon, cornhole, tennis, basketball and sand volleyball, Sydnor hopes the community will come, participate, and help raise money for a charity near to his heart, the Swim With Mike Scholarship Fund.

Mike is Mike Nyeholt, who won three NCAA swimming titles at the University of Southern California. He broke his neck in a motorcycle accident in 1981. For 33 years, Nyeholt and volunteers have raised more than $14 million to fund scholarships for student-athletes with spinal cord injuries, young men and women who may have lost their athletic scholarship due to their injury, ensuring their academic success could still be in reach.

“After I learned about this program, it was easy for me to choose this as my lifelong commitment to paying it forward,” Sydnor said.

The 5K run starts at 7:30 a.m. with the other events occurring throughout the day.

Register for any of the Roll With Cole Sport-A-Thon events here.

Read the full story in the Aug. 7 edition of the Herald-Progress. Call 798-9031 to subscribe today.

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