Adapting to Impairment

This afternoon I received a very inspirational and supportive phone call from Stephen Fangio.  Several years ago, at the age of 22, Steve lost his left leg as a result of a motorcycle accident and has since made it his goal to play golf professionally on the Champions Tour.  Steve and I were connected through a hometown friend of our family, Amy, who is producing a new television show called Improving your Handicap where Steve is the host.  This new TV series follows Steve and his story in golf and other inspirational stories of overcoming one’s handicap.  Steve not only has overcome his handicap in golf, but has done so at the same time of operating a family business, flying his airplane, restoring cars, and being a motivational speaker and golf coach.

In talking with Steve it was interesting to hear about his experiences and some of the things that he has learned along the way.  For instance, Steve talked about the remarkable ability of the body to adapt to impairment.  He compared his adaptation to the loss of his leg with that of a blind person whose other four senses become stronger.  Relying on a single leg and crutches, this means my arms and upper body will become stronger and my balance will get better.  Steve, it was truly an honor to be able to talk to you as I prepare for this life changing event tomorrow; thank you for your insights.  And thank you to all my friends and family for the overwhelming support!


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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28 Responses to Adapting to Impairment

  1. Carol burke says:

    I am so grateful for people like you and Steve. You not only survive but THRIVE!!
    Go Guys! You will be inspiring us with your new journey!

    Love ,
    Carol Holly

  2. Cousin Mike says:

    So, you’re taking up golf now too? Geez, Bret, talk about trying to one up everyone. Pretty soon you’ll be pole vaulting again:

    You can come train at my place anytime!!!
    We’re all thinking about ya today. Love ya cuz!!!

  3. Uncle Kevin & Aunt Judy says:

    Bret, The phone call from Steve was more like a phone call from another angel sent to you to help you on your journey. He was so awesome to hear for all of us! We know that you are going to follow right in his footsteps. (Too bad UK sold his Cessna because I’m sure you would be out taking lessons to fly to Alaska this Summer!). We are with you today as always and we send our love to all of you. UK & AJ

  4. Jessica says:


    Sending you extra special good thoughts today and reminding you – you have lots of people to lean on until you get your balance back (which you will).

    We love you,
    Jessica, Joe, Jack & Abby

  5. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    Thinking of you today Bret! You are so strong and guided through this by so many angels looking over you. Love ya!

  6. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Wow – What a final preparation for your day today. Amazing how God puts peoople in our life. I woke up this morning thinking of you and your family. Our prayers are with you, your bracelet is on my arm and I pray God’s hands help guide all of the professionals who serve you today.


  7. Mandy Lindsey Cayouette says:

    As always, we’ll be thinking of you and praying for you today! Peace & blessings to you and Shannon.

  8. Mary Beer says:

    Steve was an answered prayer….I have been praying that God would make ways for you to be inspired as you have inspired all of us….and voila! I am sure today is a difficult day for you and your family….know that you are not alone and we are all praying that you heal quickly and that the relief from your pain will get you back on the road. Aunt Tish sends her love (no Internet so I keep her updated).
    Mary and Jim.

  9. Danielle says:

    Thinking about you today (and everyday), Bret.

    Alaska is waiting…she may not be ready for you, but you’ll be ready for her! =)


  10. Heidi Plain Langdon says:

    Thinking about you and the whole gang today, as always. Your strength, determination, and moxy are the stuff of heroes.

  11. Jean Drum says:

    Bret, You are a remarkable young man and one that I know makes your family and all your friends very proud. We follow your blog daily and you are always in our prayers and the prayers of our friends. We wish you the best with your surgery and look forward to hearing about it on the blog.

  12. Heidi Joachimczyk says:

    Prayers and hugs to you, Shannon, your entire family, and the whole medical team. Tom, Lindsey, Ryan, and I are all with you in spirit!! Catch up to you soon.

  13. Marianne Borrelli says:

    Cousin Mike I think Steve’s video is the best yet!!!!
    I do believe he is an angel sent to help you get back on the road and riding in a good direction!
    Tell your Dad to trade in the trailer for a plane! A new adventure ….. perfect for Alaska!!!
    THinking and praying for you and Shannon all day today

  14. Rob Goodman says:

    Dear Bret,

    You don’t know me, never met me, yet I feel like I know you well! I have been reading your blog since the beginning and I cannot begin to tell you the impact it has had on me. I am a peer of Aaron and worked at the Hotel across the street from him when he was in Alpharetta. I am a 10 year cancer survivor and although my journey was much shorter and certainly not as adventerous, I really identify with so many of your feelings. I have read your blogs daily and have not commented until now. I can’t wait to read your blogs when you get to Alaska. It is a place I have always wanted to visit and have yet to make it there. I will enjoy living vicariously through your trip! I am writing to you today to wish you a very successful surgery and a speedy recovery. I will be awaiting the continuation of your journey.

    Rob Goodman

  15. Kate Lawrence Burkhard says:

    Wanted to add my voice to all the others and let you know I am thinking of you and your family. Happy to hear you found someone to inspire you the way you have inspired so many of us!

  16. Debbie Kruse says:

    I am sending hugs and prayers to you all!!! Will be thinking of you all day.


  17. Carol Carey says:

    Bret and Family
    You don’t know me but you went to school with my son and your mom was his teacher( Tim ). I have been following your blog since the beginning but never wrote until now. You have jnspired me with so much courage and strenght. You have made me cried and laughed all in the same day more than I ever thought anyone could. I’m a grandmother of a 5 and 7 year old that has been following you along with me, and the 7 year old says he would someday ride a motorcyle for you. That is if his uncle Tim will teach him and his mom well let him. My prayers and thoughts are with you and you family as this new adventure begins. I know you will over come this step with flying colors because of your strenght and courage; as I’m looking forward to more riding in the right direction. Extra Prayers For You All Today….

  18. Judy Lynd says:

    Bret: Check out 2 wheeltuesday.com2011/03double-amputee-motorcyclist-still-racing-motorcycles-video/
    Think you’ll find it interesting. Will be thinking about you today.

  19. David and Laraine says:

    Dear Bret and Shannon,
    There ARE “angels among us…!”
    Sending loving thoughts and prayers your way today — your BEST day!!
    David and Laraine

  20. Rachel Caylor says:

    Thinking of you and your family today Bret. Today IS your best day…

  21. Daniel Siciliano says:

    Good luck with the surgery….pull through this curve ball….the open road awaits…as do a million readers following your words….

  22. Julie says:

    Bret & family,
    Thank you all for your inspiration and courage! Bret, as you know, you and your family are very lucky to have each other. You all are amazing! Best wishes for a very speedy recovery to continue your adventures!

  23. Rod and Karyl Wixted says:

    Karyl and I love and pray for you everyday. Your comments have made us realize how insignificant a leg is compared to life. How wonderful it would be for the cancer to be gone forever,….. Fight with all your Might………………
    Rod and Karyl Wixted

  24. Marissa Siciliano says:

    I’m thinking of you and praying for you. Your adventures are not over. Thank you for continually sharing your life and experiences with all of us. You continue to be an inspiration. Let Shannon shower you with hugs and kisses!!!

  25. Jim Brewer says:

    Hey Bret-Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that we are all thinking about you and your family and pulling for you. Keep positive and remain an inspiration to us all.

  26. Chrissy Kid says:

    Bret, just when we think that something is being taken from our grasp, we realize that we are being given tremendous opportunities. You (and Shannon) have been in my heart all day. Like it says on the signs on Elmwood Ave………………..Hold Onto Positive Energy…………….Love you both. ((((HUGS))))

  27. Chrissy Kid says:

    OK, so I would make a lousy news reporter…………..the signs on Elmwood say…………Hope lifts our hearts!

  28. Chris says:

    Hi Bret,
    Stephen is also a friend of mine, a great inspiration and motivation for whom a handicap doesn’t really exist, except in your mind or in golf 😉
    We put his story on our website MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION.
    You have also a great attitude and will overcome all obstacles. It would be greatly appreciated, if you join our project.

    Best wishes from Europe.

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