Dr. Dick Traum is the president and founder of Achilles International. Achilles International is a non-profit organization with members in 65 locations nationally and internationally. The “main objective is to bring hope, inspiration and the joys of achievement to people with disabilities.” Dick is an above-the-knee amputee with a successful computer applications company. Dick became the first amputee to run 26.2 miles.
Sam's Dream Blog: What’s your dream for Achilles International? How did your dream originate? How has the dream evolved over the years?
Dr. Dick Traum: At the beginning, my dream was to have a local running club. Currently, there are chapters in each major city in US, with hopes to expand internationally to 100 chapters in total. Additionally we want to expand Achilles Kids from 12,700 members in 14 states to 25,000, and we want to expand the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans to include older disabled veterans.
SDB: What have been the biggest obstacles or challenges to realizing your dream?
Dr. Dick Traum: Race directors are not yet ready to include large groups of people with disabilities.
SDB: What is something more able-bodied people miss when they relegate people with disabilities to merely being an “inspiration”?
Dr. Dick Traum: They do not realize that people with disabilities are more similar than different. Also, they are unnecessarily uncomfortable with them.