David Balsley - President
David began working with amputees in graduate school in 1969 and has continued this into his Physical Therapy career. While working at the Hospital for Special Surgery David started their Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Program which continues to flourish. David was selected as a coach for the US Paralympic team in Seoul Korea, Barcelona Spain, and in Atlanta Georgia. David has coached athletes of all abilities including Jamal Pilgrim, the only sprinter from the Caribbean who participated in the London 2012 Paralympic Games. David lives for adventure and exercising outdoors. He has dedicated his life to providing these opportunities for others. Since 1982 David has regularly run ultra marathons, he believe both for himself and those he is trains that there should never be a limit to a person's potential which is how he is always inspiring athletes to excel in boundary breaking ways. David has completed a total of 17 marathons (26 miles), 4x50 milers and 13 x 100 milers. As an mountaineer, David has also summited Mt Denali in Alaska, the highest mountain peak in North America with a summit elevation of 20,310 ft (6,190m) above sea level. Mount Huascarán, the highest point in Peru. As well as Mount Vinson the highest Mountain in Antarctica summinting at 16,050 ft (4,892m).
Antoinette D'Orazio - Vice President
Antoinette is a psychotherapist who works at St. Christopher’s Inn, a homeless shelter for men with substance abuse and other co-occurring disorders. She brings a compassionate understanding of the challenges often faced by people with disabilities to the ASPIRE board. Antoinette was the victim of a hit and run driver in 1979 and lost her right leg above the knee. She has been involved with ASPIRE since 1987, when she began competing in disabled sports as a sprinter. Antoinette was a member of the 1988 US Paralympic Team and competed in the Paralympics in Seoul, South Korea as well as other international competitions. Antoinette retired from active competition in 1989 but continued to run, swim, bike, hike and participate in many other athletic endeavors over the years. She still lives an active lifestyle and is highly motivated to help others do the same.
Emily Gray - Board Member
Emily is a 3x Paralympic swimmer, amputee and cancer survivor from South Africa. Emily was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the young age of 11 years old. Despite several months of chemotherapy the cancer continued to grow and resulted in Emily needing an amputation. 15 years later Emily competed in three Paralympic games in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and recently in Rio de Janeiro 2016. Between swimming training, Emily, graduated with a Bachelors of Sport Science from the University of Pretoria in 2015. Working closely with large national and international organizations such as Speedo and Nedbank, Emily spoke to audiences of thousands with the aim of inspiring and motivating others. ASPIRE has had a monumental effect on Emily's life, as she is a very proud receiver of her new prosthetic leg. As an athlete Emily understands and appreciates the powerful effect sport can have on amputees.
Bill McGrath - Board Member
Bill McGrath recently joined the ASPIRE board and he has a comprehensive background in business and finance. Bill was Vice President of Bronx/Westchester Operations at Consolidated Edison in New York. He was also Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Pace University where he oversaw a broad portfolio of administrative departments and led the University’s Pleasantville Master Plan. Bill has served on not-for-profit boards including My Sister’s Place, The American Red Cross in Westchester, NY, and the Business Council of Westchester. Bill received his BS in Human Resource Management from the City University of New York and his Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University.
Billy Davis is a New York City based Fitness Entrepreneur with more than a decade in the health and wellness industry. Born and raised in Kansas, Billy was a high school and Division 1 standout in track and field. In his 20’s he learned jiu jitsu. In his 30’s he got into cycling and competed in endurance races all over the NorthEast. After losing his leg in May 2012, Billy set out on the mission of becoming a triathlete. Four years later he would compete is in first full triathlon. He’s had success as a commercial and private personal trainer, a group exercise instructor, and in corporate fitness in some of the top facilities in Manhattan. He’s spent the last 6 years coaching people to get certified as personal trainers and leading seminars on different areas of fitness. Billy is honored to be a member of Aspire Board.
David Kruysman is a left congenital below knee amputee and has been involved with ASPIRE since 1986 primarly as a swimmer and runner. He has had coaching help through Dave Balsley for numerous triathlons ranging from Escape from Alcatraz to Three Ironman Triathlon finishes. He was one of the founding members of FDNY Triathlon Team, along with events coordinator with Prosthetics in Motion. He also has been involved with CAF as athlete and spokesperson.
Currently David is the North East Chairman for USAT Triathlon overseeing numerous states and triathlon programs. David currently is employed as Lieutenant with FDNY and is a liasion with the NYC Mayors office for people with disabilitys through FDNY. It has and always been rewarding to give back espically to the younger generation in the sporting world working with ASPIRE.
Michael is a Director of IT for a major Automotive company. Originally from Long Island, New York he and his wife now live in North Dallas, Texas. Mike is a father of 3 and an avid runner and cyclist. Mike became an amputee in 2005 after a life threatening battle with bacterial meningitis. He survived an 8-day coma, and several months of hospitalization. However, as a result of his battle against bacterial meningitis Mike had amputations to his left foot (trans-met) and right leg (below knee) Mike is active in many support organizations including the National Meningitis Association and often speaks on the dangers of the disease and the available vaccine. Mike has also served as a mentor to other amputees and has been an active runner, cyclist and triathlete both before and since his amputations. He has run the NY Marathon 5 times, the NY Triathlon 3 times and dozens of other races. Mike sees his ability to work with such organizations as Aspire, and sharing his story as a way of bringing a positive change from a life impacting experience.