As a two-time, 29-year, one-in-a-billion survivor of childhood cancer, Damian was an active teenager whose bone cancer diagnosis left him with an ambulatory disability at the age of 13. He quickly learned how to adapt to his “new normal” and today is an adaptive athlete, an adoptive father and a successful social entrepreneur.
Just three days before his 13th birthday, Damian was diagnosed with osteosarcoma—an aggressive, rare and deadly bone cancer—in his right leg. Just seven months into remission, he was diagnosed again, this time in his left leg. Against steep odds, Damian became a one-in-a-billion survivor (today only a handful of people worldwide have survived his diagnosis), and while his battle remains never-ending, his power of positivity, passion and perseverance are at an all-time high.
In the years since his “recovery,” he has undergone 28 major knee surgeries, including a variety of replacements and revisions. His resulting disability gives him unique insights and passion into his quest to help and inspire others who face physical challenges in their lives.
His vision for The Ability Center and Universal Park is only his latest effort. For a guy with two really bad knees, Damian is very hard to slow down. Whether he’s playing and competing in a variety of adaptive sports (wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, mono-skiing and wakeboarding, to name just a few); working with kids at various camps; or founding organizations such as The Opportunity Center, The Ability Center and the Wisconsin Adaptive Sports Association, Damian always goes all-out.