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Para-Athlete Alfonso Garibay Jr.

Oct 27, 2017

Ben Flaum


Alfonso Garibay Jr. is a para-athlete who participates in a variety of marathons and cycling events. His hard work and determination makes him a distinct role model to the Boca Bearing Company. A look into Garibay's life can be found below.

 

paraathlete

 

I had barely turned 14 when I was shot in a drive by shooting. I am now 40. I was not in a gang. I just lived in an area that was very ruff; housing projects in East LA. It was a common occurrence in that area. My father was a hard working man but un educated so he never made much money he is now retired and owns his own home with my mother in Apple Valley, California I live in Rialto, California in my own home.

 

After I got shot I had a hard time adjusting and learning how to live again. No organizations that provide peer support were around that I knew of after my spinal cord injury in 1991. I adapted myself to my new life as a spinal cord injury survivor and learned how to take care of myself. In my early 20s I worked, and went to school at the same time I earned a Bachelor Of Science Degree in Information Systems Security. In spite of many various secondary spinal cord injury related issues that had me going back to hospital over the years. I have had 5 surgeries over the past 26 years of my spinal cord injury. I succeeded and graduated with honors. All while working at the same time. My parents or no one else but me paid for my education. I always tell everyone I did it on my own and learned everything the hard way. I had an awesome career for 15 years in Information Systems Security IT field that paid me very well and I earned every cent. I had work weeks that where sometimes 6 or 7 days long. That is how I was able to buy myself my nice car and my own home.

 

I got really sick in 2012 and had to stop working and prepare for another surgery. I had H.O. (heterotopic ossification) re grow in my left hip and some of it broke and created and infection deep inside the bone. I forced myself to keep working like that until I just could not do it anymore. I had the surgery In beginning of 2015 healed from it thanks to GOD. I had to work really hard to regain my strength and independence once again each time I had surgery it was the same. I decided that I would not return to work and rather serve a higher purpose by helping others when I can and enjoying my life at the same time no longer focused on just making money. I vowed to myself that I would not die working and use my experience to help others in my situation and similar disability.

 

As of early 2016 I have a new passion, handcycling. I am very good at it and plan to pursue going to Paralympics. I have made many new friends who are fellow athletes and some future or current Paralympians. I can literally write a book but that is a very short and condensed bio so you can understand a little more who I am. For past several years I have volunteered with PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America), Triumph Foundation, Desert Ability Center, I have coached Our American military veterans in handcycle clinics and have done peer visits at Ballard Rehabilitation in San Bernardino and Rancho Los Amigos and have met many other spinal cord injury survivors over the years and always try to offer advice and share my life experience. I am also very close to completing the process to be an official Loma Linda volunteer and look forward to helping. I currently spend my time, training, recovering, volunteering, doing handcycle rides to support great causes, racing, and trying to encourage others in my situation to pursue their dreams and goals despite being differently able.