Imagine having extraordinary intellect, athleticism, and talent in combination with the unwavering confidence that all of your dreams would come true. Then envision what it would be like to have all of that decimated with the force of a 40,000-ton city bus. That’s precisely what happened to academic, athlete, and actor Jim MacLaren.
Through telling her brother’s story, Jennifer Hippensteel, author of “I Am Not My Body, A Tribute to Jim MacLaren” is helping others find inspiration when all seems lost. The book reflects on the unfathomable highs and lows of MacLaren’s incredible existence—from his days at Yale School of Drama… to his triumphs as an amputee triathlete after being hit by a New York City bus and losing part of his leg… to his reinvention as a motivational speaker after a second tragic accident rendered him a quadriplegic. The book encourages others to “get back into life” no matter how catastrophic the circumstances they have faced.
After losing her big brother and best friend in 2010, Jennifer Hippensteel was compelled to write this book to keep her brother’s spirit alive, help her continue to heal from his loss, and to inspire others to find their new “normal.” She has been writing since she was 10 years old and believes that when people write from their hearts, there will always be someone out there who can relate and perhaps not feel so alone in their struggles. Hippensteel is the mother to four exceptional spirits, Kiowa, Noah, Sage, and Maya, and she resides in Lancaster County, PA. Professionally, she is a business consultant. holistic health practitioner, and Reiki master.
Through publishing this book, she also wants to bring awareness of and support for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (www.challengedathletes.org). Years ago, MacLaren’s friends created the organization to purchase a wheelchair accessible van for him. The nonprofit continues to help challenged athletes around the world.
I couldn’t put this book down. Literally. It arrived on Saturday morning and I finished it shortly after luch. It is so much more than a story of overcoming adversity, it’s an insight into an extraordinary life. Jim MacLaren took reinvention to a whole new level and his sister is generous in allowing the reader to immerse themselves in his story and his example. The book is made up of stories, anecodotes, lessons and poetry, all in their own way offering a new perspective on Jim’s life as well as reminding the reader that life is precious and not to be taken for granted.
For more information about “I Am Not My Body, A Tribute to Jim MacLaren” and author Jennifer Hippensteel, visit jimmaclarentribute.com.