Who is Kerry Gruson?

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Who is Kerry Gruson?

Meet Kerry Gruson, a 73 year old quadriplegic athlete. Says Kerry about our topics: “I believe health, fitness and wellness aren’t really about the physical body. It needs to include brain, mind and heart, spirit muscles -our entire organism in exquisite balance. Also, living healthy necessarily is about how our world collaborates.

Kerry: “Together we can, step by step. I’ve learned this in carne propria.”

The back story: in 1974, Kerry, a young journalist, was traveling to Vietnam. On a stopover in Hawaii, she interviewed a former Green Beret who strangled her and left her for dead. She survived the “accident”, as Kerry always refers to the attack. She’s now effectively a quadriplegic. Her voice is a hoarse whisper. Yet Kerry insists on living ‘out loud’. She refuses to be angry at the veteran who, in that one moment, completely changed her life. She refuses to be defined by her disability. She believes she’s found her purpose and is pursuing her dreams with intensity and zest.

For the next few decades Kerry continued to work in journalism. Over the years, she’s increasingly dedicated herself to sport, most recently to endurance sports. Of course, Kerry can’t take a step, a stroke or peddle on her own. She’s completely dependent on others for almost everything in her life. This doesn’t sadden her. Indeed, she finds a freedom and a mission in being able to accept help. “It’s my super power. In this world WE ARE ALL INTERDEPENDENT,” Kerry says.

This belief is bedrock for ThumbsUp International, the nonprofit she co-founded and now co-chairs with Caryn Lubetsky, an elite level endurance athlete. A primary objective is to expand attitudes about life’s possibilities by forming teams of athletes with differing capabilities to compete in athletic events together. Their Race2Educate initiatives focuses on encouraging teamwork, tenacity and trust among young people, where lasting change begins. ThumbsUp also makes presentations in schools from elementary to college. Kerry: “Education is at the heart of all we do,”. 

What’s on the horizon? ThumbsUp wants to grow the Race2Educate initiatives and involve more young people of all capabilities. Caryn and Kerry are preparing for their third Guinness World Record. Their longer-term dream is to run China’s Great Wall Marathon (over 5000 steps) and hopefully help world diplomacy take a step towards a more peaceful coexistence.  


For ThumbsUp’s next event in May and for general information, the website: www.thumbsupintl.org. We welcome people of all abilities and ages and hope you’ll sign up.

ThumbsUp International
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