Travis Roy was presented the Christopher Reeve Foundation’s prestigious Spirit of Courage Award at its annual gala in New York City on Thursday.
Roy, who fell head-first into the boards just 11 seconds into his first game with Boston University in 1995 and wound up paralyzed, has been involved with his self-named foundation for years, but has never been after any recognition.
“For a long time, almost 10 years, I never felt comfortable with the attention my story received,” Roy told the Portland Press Herald. “Basically, all I did was break my neck.
“The first seven, eight years, the impact [of the Travis Roy Foundation] was very small. The last eight, 10 years, we’ve changed the lives of 1,000 people. We’re funding research. I realize [the Spirit of Courage Award] is important. It means a lot to me because I share it with so many others. I’m just the lead singer of this band.”
Roy’s annual Wiffle ball fundraiser tournament in Essex, Vt., has raised $2,910,000 over the past 13 years.
“Every year I try to get through it without emotionally breaking down,” said Tony McNaboe, a longtime friend of Roy’s, to the Press Herald. “Essex, for the three days of the tournament, is a little bit of utopia. It blows my mind what he’s turned that tournament into. It’s such a profoundly poignant time and it’s all because of Travis. He’s so selflessly concerned with you.”