Race of a Lifetime CaseyKammel

CASEY TO KONA, Ironman 20 Years in the Making

"You will never walk again."
20 years ago, I broke my neck and heard this devastating news.

I'm Casey Kammel, a personal trainer by trade, Ironman by choice. After I broke my neck IN HAWAII on vacation and was confined to a wheelchair, I thought life was over. But it wasn't. Instead, it was a new beginning. I had to re-learn basic daily functions like brushing my teeth, getting dressed and learning to walk again. 

In 1994, my vacation ended tragically when I hit my head on the bottom of a swimming pool and crushed my C4 vertebrate. I was immediately paralyzed from my neck down. 

Enduring extensive surgery, the doctors used my hip bone to create a new vertebrae fusion in my neck. They screwed a steel halo into my skull attached to a non-removable body brace. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I couldn't move. I would just stare at the ceiling for hours. This was a dark time. 

During my 2 months in the hospital, I endured intense therapy and began to regain movement. Within 3 months I was up and walking with a 4-pronged cane. By 5 months, I set the cane down and never looked back. 

I FALL ALMOST DAILY, but I GET BACK UP.  You can too! I'm still partially paralyzed on my entire right side, and my hand is closed like a fist. I deal with issues no one knows about, but it doesn't stop me. FOR ONE DAY, try to tie your shoes with one hand. For me, it's EVERYDAY. But I keep going.

I have worked long and tirelessly, and have proven the doctors wrong. I am now proud to be a competitive PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED ATHLETE!! Without hesitation, I push through with a perseverance I never could have imagined. And now....I'm
on my way to Kona Ironman Oct. 11, 2014! My Holy Grail of races!

CASEY TO KONA, Ironman 20 Years in the Making!!! I broke my neck in 1994 a swimming pool in Hawaii, now I have the CHANCE OF A LIFETIME to return to the islands that changed my life forever.

I NEED TO RAISE $50,000 to get to KONA. I'm honored to do this for fellow challenged athletes! The funds are being raised for CAF and a very small portion for athletic expenses. 

My wife Lisa (then my girlfriend) pulled me up from the bottom of the pool. She stood by my side regardless of the outcome. She went through the daily pain and suffering of recovery with me.

And now, our two daughters support me for who I am, regardless of my disabilities. I want my kids to be motivated to be better and stronger and never quit no matter what they do! 

THANK YOU ALL, for the love and support! I would not be the person I am today without the unwavering dedication of my family, my clients, and my community! 

The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF)
raises money to help people with physical challenges pursue an active lifestyle through physical fitness and athletics. CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, competitive lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love.

By making a donation towards my fundraising goal you will provide individuals with physical challenges the tools necessary to find success in sports — and in life!

  • Charles Tentindo 
    • $52 
    • 81 mos
  • Steve & Johnna Bryant 
    • $250 
    • 81 mos
  • Colby and Brenda Durnin 
    • $50 
    • 81 mos
  • Steve Howerton 
    • $100 
    • 81 mos
  • Parks Wesson 
    • $100 
    • 81 mos
See all


Casey Kammel 
Long Beach, CA
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more