Nick Roussos water skiis. Courtesy photo.

Outdoor enthusiast embraces abilities

by JACQUIE PETERSON

Ask Nick Roussos to describe himself, and he’ll tell you that as an outdoor enthusiast, he is a “total thrill seeker.” He loves almost any water sport, including water skiing and white water rafting.

Find Part 2: Storytelling a gift for man with cerebral palsy here.

Nick Roussos head shot

Nick Roussos

His love for the water was passed down by his family. Big into the outdoors, they spent a significant amount of time at Lake Langano when he was a kid.

Lake Langano is in Ethiopia. Now 40, Nick was born and raised there until he was 15-years-old.

“I love water sports to this day,” Nick said. “Well, almost all of them. I am still a maybe on canoeing!”

Now in Loveland, Colo., he continues his activities in and out of the water, to include triathlons. He also hits the ski slopes during the winter and sits horseback every now and then.

Nick Roussos participates in triathlons with Athletes in Tandem, a non profit organization that competes with athletes who have a disability to enhance the quality of their lives by racing together in running, biking, swimming and triathlon events. He's pictured with his friend Dennis Vanderheiden, president of the organization.

Nick Roussos participates in triathlons with Athletes in Tandem, a non profit organization that competes with athletes who have a disability to enhance the quality of their lives by racing together in running, biking, swimming and triathlon events. He’s pictured with his friend Dennis Vanderheiden, president of the organization. Courtesy photo.

Nick does all of these activities with the help of many outdoor enthusiasts like himself – while using adaptive gear.

A different way to do things

Born with cerebral palsy, Nick is limited in his movement and is unable to speak. In an email interview with ApostropheMagazine.com he said, “I’ve never let that stop me.”

To get around, he rides in his “flaming hot-rod” wheelchair and talks using PRC’s Eco2 electronic communication device.

Growing up in Ethiopia, Nick didn’t have these devices, like everyone else in the 1970s. He often got around on his brother’s back or his mom’s hip. And had a special way to communicate with his family.

“My mom’s special therapies helped me gain many abilities,” he said. “I was always doing them.”

Today Nick still relies on his family and his job coaches to help him with personal care and his business (learn more about his business here). He’s grateful for what they do for him.

Sometimes, though, he wishes he could feel just a little more independent.

“I often feel my voice is not heard,” he said. “I have difficulty communicating and being treated like an adult.”

But again, he doesn’t let that stop him.

Nick has a genuine interest in living his life to the fullest. He advocates for himself and others by showing that people with all kinds of abilities can do great things.

Find Part 2: Storytelling a gift for man with cerebral palsy here.

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