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Snapshot New York: Quadriplegic Kevin Lange hits Trails Without Limits in Westchester County

Quadriplegic Kevin Lange hits Trails Without Limits in Westchester County
Quadriplegic Kevin Lange hits Trails Without Limits in Westchester County 04:21

HARTSDALE, N.Y. - A new program in Westchester County helps people with disabilities immerse themselves in the local parks like never before. 

It's all because of a charity, some volunteers, and a very unique device. 

The sun was already high in the sky when CBS New York's Steve Overmyer arrived at Ridge Road Park. It's a park that breeds a special kind of resilience of spirit. 

"Everyone here at Westchester Parks Foundation believe parks are for everyone," Erin Cordiner said. 

The nonprofit created a program called Trails Without Limits. 

Using a special all-terrain wheelchair, Kevin Lange hits the trail. 

"Ever since I was a little kid, I loved exploring nature and being outdoors," Lange said. "As I got old enough to start exploring on my own, I would just go out and try to catch any creatures I could." 

Action Trackchair is a robust machine, ready to tackle the rough terrain. It hums quietly as it powers over the rocky trail, the tank-like tracks gripping the rocks with sturdy assurance. 

Lange searches out the rugged parts. 

"There are some hurdles you have to overcome," CBS New York's Steve Overmyer said. 

'Yes, that's the best part," Lange said. "Like, see this little rock? You just want to go over it." 

"You're like a little kid, stomping in every puddle," Overmyer said. 

"Yeah, I guess I am," Lange said. 

Kevin Lange enjoying the outdoors as part of Trails Without Limits.  CBS2

Lange is 62 and an outdoorsman. He hasn't always been a quadriplegic. Five years ago, his life changed. 

"I was spending a lot of time, if I wasn't working, running trails at Rockefeller, skiing and snowboarding in Vermont," he said. "I had friends that were very good mountain bikers, and they were always imploring me to come away on a biking trip and I finally took them up on it.... I was on a raised wooden part of the trail. I went over the edge over the handlebars and hit my head. It was strange. It felt like a lightning bolt went through my body, and suddenly I couldn't move anymore."

His love for adventure never waned. It just morphed into something new, but equally inspiring. 

"I just kept thinking back to how I've lived already for 57 years and said 'I've done so much and enjoyed so much of life; I don't feel bad about where I'm at right now,'" Lange said. "And now I keep thinking about what else I can do. And I'm finding more and more there's a lot of stuff I can still do.  It's just different than what it was when I was walking with my two legs."

That includes simple things - like listening to the songs of birds. 

"That part of my life isn't gone for good. I can still come out here and listen to the birds... and be one with nature," he said. 

Despite the adversities, Lange had found a way back to his passion. He adapted and evolved. Most importantly, he found courage. In the face of loss, he found hope. In the face of change, a new trail. 

"I'm not able to lift up rocks and find little critters like I normally would do. But I love trees, especially big old trees," he said. "I just think about how long they've been here what they've seen and how many storms they've lived through... to me, it's fascinating."

"We're literally living on this planet because of the trees. Trees just do so much for our world. And it's important to be here with them walking among trails and hearing the birds," Cordiner said. "It's proven that nature has the benefit of really improving our mental wellbeing and our physical health."

"I don't know where these trails are going.  I'm exploring again. So, every turn I'm going someplace I haven't seen before," Lange said.

He serves as a reminder that we are capable of far more than we imagine, as long as we keep going. The trail will always be there, waiting for us. 

"Does it feel like being out here in the wilderness and being able to blaze your own trail, does it mirror your life that when a challenge comes up you find a new path?" Overmyer said. 

"Yeah, that's a good way to put it. When you have an obstacle in front of you, find a way to get around it and continue on where you want to go," Lange said. 

You don't have to be a Westchester County resident to enjoy the Trails Without Limits program. 

For more information, CLICK HERE

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