NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral
By Clifton French. Posted: Nov 26, 2014 4:05 PM EST
FORT MYERS, FL – A Marine Corps veteran is being given a chance to play a sport he’s only been able to dream about through the help of a specialized golf cart that allows him to stand up and swing.
On a chilly, windy day before Thanksgiving, Raul Acosta rides in his wheelchair to the range at Legends Golf and Country Club. He’s accompanied by Tom Michaud, who is about to teach the Marine Corps veteran how to use a specialized golf cart called a para-mobile.
“In my point of view, it’s the Cadillac of adaptive golf carts.” Michaud said.
Michaud also uses a wheelchair. He’s had his para-mobile for two-and-a-half years.
An Army veteran and retired police chief, Michaud was diagnosed with MS and can no longer walk. Since getting his machine, he’s made it a mission to help others get carts like his.
He’s been working with the national charity Stand up and Play and the local Legends Golf and Country Club. A Veterans Day golf event at the country club this year raised about $22,000. That money is being used to buy Raul Acosta an adaptive cart.
“I’m very anxious to get the experience to learn how to use it and go out and do the sport.” Acosta said.
Raul lost his leg in the early 90’s. But the reason for the disability goes all the way back to his time in the Marines when he was training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“The water they gave us was unfortunately contaminated.” He said. “That caused me to have cancer. I ended up with a tumor in my abdomen, they had to remove it. That caused me to lose circulation in my legs, turned gang green, got amputated.”
Acosta currently works for the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He says his goals are to inspire other veterans who are in wheelchairs. He hopes he can inspire those vets while in his new cart.
“Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t me you stop living.” Acosta said.
Acosta’s para-mobile is still on order, but should be delivered soon. To learn more about Stand Up and Play click here.
Money raised from the Cajun Classic Golf Tournament at the Verandah Club in Fort Myers also helped to support the efforts.