|Category:||Caring for Communities|
|Tags:||bowling, cystic fibrosis, Illinois, small business, The UPS Store franchise, transplant, World Transplant Games|
As a small business owner of a The UPS Store location in Lyle, Ill., I try to connect with my community as much as I can. Whether it’s in the store, at a local event, or even in church, I do what I can to give back. Two years ago, when I went to Sunday service and offered a kid a job, I never knew how much he would end up giving back to me and all of those around us.
Nathan Weimer is no average 21-year-old. Born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and infect internal organs, Nathan has undergone a double lung transplant and kidney transplant, all by the time he was 16.
You would think this kind of adversity would get him down, but not Nathan. He has the kind of zest for life that can only come from someone who has faced the most challenging of situations. And he has done amazing things with his young life, like recently bringing home a bronze medal in bowling from the World Transplant Games in Sweden. He told me being able to stand on that podium waving America’s flag and receiving his medal is a moment he’ll never forget.
Nathan grew up bowling with his grandfather, later realizing his true passion to play professionally. He bowls on multiple leagues during the spring and fall, and competes in amateur tours with his team. When his surgeon at the Loyola University Medical Center mentioned an opportunity to play at the 2011 World Transplant Games, he was immediately interested. He and his doctor contacted the organization and it was decided: Nathan was going to Sweden. Travel expenses were high, however, so he had to find a way to raise enough money.
Seeing as we love logistics so much, our The UPS Store location, along with the Grace Point Church and Connie’s Pizza, pulled together to raise enough money to send Nathan to the Games. We felt so honored to have been able to help make this a reality for Nathan. He later said how meaningful it was that the community rallied together to support him.
Not only did he get to compete in the sport he loves, but he also was able to meet others from all over the world who received life-saving transplants. He said the most enjoyable part of being at the games was meeting and hearing other people’s experiences, reinforcing his belief that you shouldn’t take anything for granted.
I look at Nathan and see someone who is truly inspiring; someone with a unique sense of courage that is evident everyday in our store. I am so proud to work with him and looking forward to supporting him at the U.S. National Games in Grand Rapids, Mich., next summer.