NEW YORK (AP) — Five days before he was to start college, Fred Maahs’ world turned upside down. Off the Delaware coast in 1980, on the last day of summer vacation, the 18-year-old took a dive from his family’s boat into an unseen sandbar barely a foot below the surface, sustaining injuries that paralyzed him from the chest down.
After months of medical care, he had to find a new college to attend — the one at which he enrolled said its campus was not accessible to wheelchairs. One of his first jobs was on the second floor of a building with no elevator; two friends carried him up and down the stairs.
“For those first couple of years, I was really dependent on family or friends,” said Maahs. “Back then, people with disabilities were primarily kept at home.”
Were that diving accident to…
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