Born with spina bifida, which left him paralyzed from the waist down, Nick Nieboer kept his competitive spirit and love of sports alive, focusing on building his upper body strength. This spring he set out to participate in the Boston Marathon.
Since winters make outdoor training impossible for the 20-year-old hand cyclist, Nieboer began working out at Impact Fitness’ Kalamazoo Planet Fitness® location. He also found support in fitness trainer Devon Lesnek, a marketing graduate from Western Michigan University who has been with PF® for two years.
Nieboer approached PF® regarding potential sponsorship for the Boston event whether through gear or assistance with the qualifying fee for the marathon. “Devon and I immediately started brainstorming different ways we could get involved and how we could help,” said Regional Manager Shawn Hoover. Together, Lesnek and Hoover worked with Impact Fitness’ head of marketing to devise the plan to host a fundraiser for Nieboer.
Free and open to the public, the fundraiser included free food from QDOBA and Erbellis, PF swag giveaways, live remote from 103.3 KFR and the chance to win a 12-month Black Card® membership. However, the big reveal was for Nieboer himself. “The big surprise we had planned for Nick was the new hand bike we revealed at the party that he would be able to use while at PF,” Hoover said.
“The staff has been so helpful and encouraging, and their support of my hand–cycling racing endeavors means a great deal to me. I am so grateful for their financial support as I face the expenses associated with going to the Boston Marathon in April and the upkeep of my racing bike,” Nieboer told Fox 17.
Assisting Nieboer in his journey was a reward for those at Impact Fitness as well.
“Being able to help Nick, both physically and financially, in his journey is a real joy,” said Chris Klebba, CEO of Impact Fitness, in the FOX 17 report. “Bringing the Kalamazoo community together at our local Planet Fitness in support of this young man as he works to achieve his goals is at the heart of our organization’s focus to connect, encourage and support members in an impactful way.”
“Nick’s personality and perseverance has inspired numerous members to overcome obstacles that they themselves have experienced throughout their fitness journeys,” Hoover added. “Any time we can make a special impact on a member it helps remind us what our goal and mission is really all about. Nick’s story and the way we were able to help him is a perfect example of why we, at Impact Fitness, exist to serve, to inspire, to support and to change lives.”