August 7, 1986 |
Thirty-five years ago, James McGowan was a 19-year-old semiprofessional baseball player whose life had taken a drastic turn. Attacked by a group of men on a Brooklyn sidewalk and stabbed in the abdomen, McGowan lost the use of his legs after surgery to repair the wound. Today, McGowan, 54, of Fort Washington, calls the incident a blessing in disguise. He says he never would have accomplished all he had if he had not experienced his disability. On Sept. 25, he will attempt another accomplishment: Although paralyzed from the middle of the chest down, McGowan will try to swim the 22-mile English Channel.
October 3, 1986 |
There were rousing cheers at the welcome home rally held for Jim McGowan yesterday afternoon on Temple University's Berks Mall. "My doctor in Dover told me I would survive the English Channel swim, but not the welcoming home in Philadelphia," said the 54-year-old paraplegic marathon swimmer in response to a thunderous round of cheers from more than 1,000 Temple students and faculty. McGowan was treated in Dover, England, for hypothermia. But the cheers turned to jeers when Temple President Peter J. Liacouras took stage center.
December 20, 1987 |
He sat poised on the roof. The view of New York from the high-rise hospital lay before him, broken only by the heavy clouds, the flash of lightning and the roll of thunder. He had a choice to make - to end it all here, once and for all, or turn and face what was ahead him no matter how frightening. His courage prevailed. He grabbed the wheel of his chair and yanked it back toward the roofway door - back toward his future. For Doug Heir, 27, who today lives in Cherry Hill, the decision to pull back from suicide has paid off. Last week, the U.S. Jaycees chose Heir as one of the 10 Outstanding Americans for 1987, among a group of selectees that included the first woman to travel by foot to the North Pole and a former New Orleans Saints quarterback-turned-philanthropist.
January 23, 1987 |
A 28-year-old Montgomery County woman who filed suit against Philadelphia Electric Co., claiming one of its trucks blocked her view of traffic and caused her car to be struck by a dump truck in 1979, has won a "structured settlement" that will pay her about $2 million over her lifetime. Charmaine Nuss of Perkiomenville is a paraplegic as a result of the accident, according to her attorney, Daniel M. Preminger. The attorney said the PE repair truck was parked too close to the corner of Route 73 and Eagleville Road, near Nuss's home, when she was attempting to make a left turn onto Route 73. "My client was unable to see the dump truck coming east on Route 73 because of the parked electric company truck," said Preminger.
August 18, 2015 |
STRATHMERE - When Dawn Robinson paddled across the finish line, she finished next to last. As the sun set, the crowd of onlookers on the beach who waited eagerly for her arrival cheered and clapped and shed tears of joy with her. She was a winner. Robinson, 33, a paraplegic, recently completed her first race - nearly five miles prone on a paddle board. She trained for only four weeks and until then previously had paddled only about three miles at a time. "It was definitely challenging, but it was amazing," she said.
February 26, 1986 |
Jim McGowan plans to swim the English Channel. Backwards! But that ain't nothin'. If he makes it - and there's little doubt in his mind that he will - McGowan will be the first paraplegic to complete the historic 22-mile swim. Backwards, or forwards. But then, McGowan, a 54-year-old student studying for his master's in psychology at Temple University, has been going against the tide since that fateful night in 1951 when a member of a street gang ran a sword through his stomach on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, N.Y. "They were looking for another gang," recalled McGowan.
May 6, 1992 |
The Waterdance is a war movie about men doing battle with their bodies. They are paraplegics, recent victims of permanently disabling accidents, who find themselves helpless in a convalescent facility. In this black-comic triumph of spirit over affliction, about the only subject these diverse dudes initially can agree upon is that paraplegia beats quadriplegia. Empathically shot from the patients' perspective, The Waterdance makes you understand how surreal the world appears when you're in traction and can only look at the ceiling and the odd facial angles of orderlies bending over you. It's a movie about process and healing that examines the psychological evolution that can attend physical disability.
September 18, 1986 |
The man with the lifeless legs twisted himself off the rough wooden planks of the pier and into the dark, chill water. Jim McGowan - writer, athlete, skydiver, paraplegic - was getting ready for the English Channel. The Fort Washington, Pa., man, who hopes later this month to become the first paraplegic to swim the channel, had come to Maine's Casco Bay two weekends ago because the water there is cold - a few degrees colder than the 60-degree temperatures he must endure for perhaps 20 hours as he attempts to swim the 22 miles of choppy water between Dover, England, and Calais, France.
August 19, 1994 |
It was bad enough that she had divorced him - the man who had given her three daughters and 15 turbulent years. And bad enough that she had found someone else. But, according to his lawyer, it was too much for Colson Derby, the spurned ex-husband, when his youngest daughter, age 16, claimed her mom's lover had raped her. Derby, a 40-year-old paraplegic with long, jet-black hair and a full beard, cuts an imposing figure - even in the wheelchair that has been his mobility since a motorcycle vs. freight-train crack-up in 1978.
December 18, 1998 |
A con man who authorities say fueled a lavish lifestyle by killing and robbing a wealthy loner in North Carolina and another in Delaware pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree murder. George Kalomeris, a 42-year-old Maryland man, admitted in Sussex County Superior Court to twice trying in 1997 to kill a paraplegic Delaware man he had known previously. That case helped police solve the mysterious disappearance and slaying of a reclusive North Carolina heir two years earlier.