ABR Story

Ethan Menges


In September 2015, two weeks before my 24th birthday, I became a quadruple amputee.

After graduating college at Northwestern I had big plans that included starting my career as an Actuary, competing in a triathlon, and then preparing for an ironman and ultra marathon. Unfortunately, plans changed in January 2015 as I was walking out of a Chicago Bulls game on a blistery winter evening. I collapsed from sepsis having a rare form of staph pneumonia and the flu. Through many prayers, doctors, nurses, family, friends, and other medical professionals, we was able to overcome the infection and I recovered enough to finally leave the hospital in December, almost a year after I collapsed.

I always had a drive to push myself, and I carried that into my recovery. In the first year out of the hospital I completed two 5k’s, a 7k, and climbed over 100 stories in a Willis Tower stair challenge. I never lost sight of wanting to complete an ironman but I knew the prosthetic devices I had wouldn’t get me there. I quickly realized that I would need running blades to have a chance at the running portion, but hope diminished at this realization because insurance wouldn’t cover these. I was frustrated, for the first time I felt like I might not have a shot at reaching my goal.

Then my life changed again. While looking into running legs, I came across ABR. After being skeptical about the possibility of an organization granting running legs, I decided to give it a shot and apply. After a few rounds of interviews I found out that I was a grant recipient!

I feel blessed and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization. Many thanks can be given to Justin Darn, Aaron, Daryl, and each and every person in their organization. They have given me a chance and a tool to continue towards my own goals while being a part of something much more. This organization is a constant reminder to do what you are passionate about while using your gifts to serve others.