Steve Muse, Victory of Spirit

An inspiring story, I have know Steve Muse for a few years now, I met him and Jennifer as a volunteer and photographer at Challenged America, I did not know the whole story until now, just bits and pieces.

When I was in the hospital a year and a half ago with the real possibility of losing my leg, Steve Muse and other Challenged America participants, Wounded Warriors were the inspiration that helped me keep positive during my stay, through my surgeries and year long recovery.

Steve loaned me one of his wheelchairs, set it up for me and gave me a form of mobility I did not have and I gained a whole new level of admiration for what he had and was achieving and gave me the strength to push my rehabilitation through the pain, through the ups and down.

Watch his story and if you are not inspired, nothing will.

Thanks Steve for everything, you will never know how big a part you played in my recovery, you are an inspiration..

Philippe Gadeyne

Steve Muse, Victory of Spirit

3rd Annual Tom Kirwan DASH to Chula Vista Benefiting Challenged America

In spite of the weather, the 3rd Annual Tom Kirwan DASH to Chula Vista Benefiting Challenged America was another success.

Six boats (12 sailors) raced an alternate 6.5nm course under the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge and back after the first day’s race was cancelled due to high winds.

Sue Taetzsch and John Barba finished first, followed just 17 seconds later by Steve and Jennifer Muse and less than a minute later by Fernanda Castelo and Steve Edenson.

Special thanks to all the sponsors and donors (including Chula Vista Yacht Club and California Yacht Marina – Chula Vista) and especially to the many volunteers who helped make this a successful and fun event

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Reeve Foundation Board Member Rediscovers Her ‘Sea Legs’

When Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation board member Pat Volland was injured in a serious accident five years ago, one of her fears was that she would never be able to sail again. Pat and her husband Bob had long raced a 40-foot yacht out of Annapolis, Maryland; in fact they had spent much of their lives together on the open sea. But due to the nature of her injuries, it was far from certain that she’d ever captain a boat once more.

Then, last November, on a trip out to San Diego, the Vollands became acquainted with Reeve Foundation Quality of Life past grantee Challenged America, a unique organization that has offered adaptive and therapeutic sailing since 1978. Learning that she could actually sail again, and not merely ride as a passenger, Pat got into a boat for the first time since her accident.

“What an incredible feeling to be out on the water again, and in control,” she says.

Pat’s maiden voyage was with Challenged America volunteer Doug Shaw (each boat requires that a person with disability sail with one of the organization’s volunteers, for safety reasons.) Her particular boat was equipped with a Power Assist unit and joystick controller that allowed Pat to steer and also trim the sails. “It was such a confidence booster to be in charge,” she says.

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MS Does Not Slow Challenged America Sailors

Another Excellent Sailor at Challenged America, meet Eric!

The son of a salesman and bookkeeper, Eric Brand was born in Tarzana, a suburb of the San Fernando Valley located to the northwest of Los Angeles.  As a teen, he attended Taft High School in neighboring Woodland Hills. Reaching college age Eric matriculated to Cal State University Northridge where he studied a varied of subjects unsure, at the time, of what discipline would pique his interest.  Being a sports enthusiast, however, he did play volleyball.  But like many, Eric always wanted to venture south to surf on San Diego’s pristine beaches, a dream which reached fruition when he came to study in our local colleges.


After arriving in the sunny southland in 1981, Eric attended SDSU. During his sojourn as an undergrad, he took a year to head farther south, where he attended two semesters of classes in Guadalajara, Mexico. There, Eric focused on improving his Spanish fluency.  He then backtracked north, to the land of the gringo, where he worked a year clerking for Michael Dodge, a local bankruptcy attorney.  Having found that the study of law was the subject that stoked Eric’s fires, it was in 1986 that he set his sights on Pepperdine Law School in the sage covered mountains overlooking Malibu.  After graduating from Pepperdine, the new graduate remained local for his first real job, a deputy public defender for the County of Los Angeles.

As 1994 dawned, Eric once again set his sights on a return to America’s Finest City.  Transferring to San Diego as an alternate public defender he was again jazzed to settle in the land of sun and surf.  It was at that time that mild symptoms of a disabling disease began to molest Eric. It was just before his transfer in 1994 that he went to seek medical aid, curious as to what was causing his nascent symptoms. Soon thereafter, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Continue reading