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By Robert Rosen
Hometown Weekly Staff
It has been 20 years since Travis Roy excitedly jumped onto the ice for his first shift as a freshman for the Boston University hockey team.
Many remember hearing about how, just 11 seconds into his collegiate career, Roy slid head first into the boards, cracking two vertebra and leaving him a quadriplegic.
For Dover resident Shannon Leary, October 20, 1995 is a day she will never forget.
Leary has been friends with Roy since they were juniors at Tabor Academy in Marion. In fact, Leary’s husband, Angus, was high school roommates with Roy. The three are incredibly close.
The night of the accident Shannon and Angus met Roy’s parents at the hospital in Boston. They later traveled to the Shepard Center in Atlanta to visit him there while he was rehabbing.
The three high school friends are so close that Roy became a Justice of the Peace so he could marry Shannon and Angus. Their two sons consider Roy an uncle.
“Since he entered my life he has been an inspiration more than he will ever know,” Leary said. “I love and value Trav. I am lucky to have his friendship, his support and his continued guidance.
“He’s a solid person. Always seeing the good in any situation. He teaches me daily to live life to its fullest. He has the biggest heart. He is a friend and motivation to all.”
This April, Leary, along with fellow Dover resident Caroline Melchionda, will run the Boston Marathon for the Travis Roy Foundation, which is dedicated to enhancing the life of individuals with spinal cord injuries and their families by providing adaptive equipment and to finding a cure through increased funding of research, resulting in self-reliance and the ability to be as independent as possible, according to the Foundation’s website.
As part of Leary and Melchionda’s fundraising efforts for the Foundation, Roy will be coming to Dover to speak at the Chickering Elementary School on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. All are welcome and donations are requested at the door. There will be a raffle of hockey memorabilia and collectables, and Roy will sign copies of his book “11 Seconds.”
“Amy Fielding, a close friend, another Dover mom, stepped right up to the plate once she hear Caroline and I were running for Travis,” Leary said. “It was all Amy’s idea [to have Roy come speak].”
Leary said that Roy will likely speak about hos life is full of challenges, but it is what people do when faced with those challenges that defines who we are and who we become.
“Whether you are familiar with hockey, a fan, have followed Travis in the news… all that doesn’t matter,” Leary said. “Just being around Leary and hearing his message is powerful. Being in his presence is astounding. He makes you want to be a better person. He makes you want to live life to its fullest.”
To learn more about Travis Roy coming to the Chickering School, visit the event’s Facebook page.
To donate to Shannon Leary’s fundraising effort, visit her fundraising page.
To donate to Caroline Melchionda’s fundraising effort, visit her fundraising page.
Robert Rosen is an Editor at Hometown Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @roberterosen.