In October 2019, I was blessed to come across the book “11 Seconds.” It is the autobiography of Travis Roy. Travis was a local Maine hockey standout back in the ’90s. Eleven seconds into his first shift of his first game for Boston University, Travis suffered a spinal cord injury leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. His story did not end there. The book goes on to tell of the tragedy, courage and triumph of Travis’ life.
I was immediately impacted by Travis. My initial thought was our kids need to hear this! As a member of the Wiscasset Boosters, I presented the idea of having Travis come to our school and speak to our students. Our committee was very receptive. We reached out to our school administration and our small community to try and generate interest in getting Travis to speak to the student body. All parties were on board. As a result of all the support, Travis’ visit was set for early April 2020.
Then COVID-19 hit. The decision was made to move Travis’ visit to the fall of 2020 in hopes that things would be back to normal by then. As we all know, that did not happen but we were still optimistic about having Travis visit later in the school year.
On Oct. 29, we received word that Travis had passed away at the young age of 45.
We were all saddened and devastated. But again, Travis’ story will not end there.
Although our students will never have the great fortune of meeting Travis, his legacy can continue one person at a time by sharing his story and his message.
One of the many things he taught me is that tragedy and adversity does not define who we are. Our students and children need to see all of us persevere and be courageous when things get difficult, to look out for others with kindness and generosity. Our commitment needs to be to continue to share Travis’ story but more importantly, to live our lives with his legacy in mind.