Stanley Paris, PT, PhD, FAPTA, HonLLD(Otago), a member of the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research Board of Trustees, recently announced that he would abort his fourth attempt to solo circumnavigate the globe. A lifelong adventurer, Paris has used his sailing and other endurance activities to raise awareness and funding for the Foundation for many years. His most recent attempt at solo circumnavigation began in the last week of November 2018 and was abandoned mid-December following several major equipment failures.
Paris has long been a leader in advancing and strengthening the profession of physical therapy. He is the founding President of the University of St. Augustine. He also helped found and develop the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and served as its first president. Among his many distinctions, in 2002 Paris was made a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA, has delivered the Mary McMillan Founders Lecture, and is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws, HonLLD(Otago) in New Zealand.
In addition to Paris’ professional accomplishments, he is well known for his adventures. In 1960 he drove a VW Beetle from London to India and back. In 1985 he completed the World Championship Kona Ironman Triathalon. He has swam across the English Channel and embarked on many sailing adventures. His first and second attempts at solo circumnavigation around the globe ended in South Africa due to equipment failure. He decided to make a third attempt aboard a new boat – the Kiwi Spirit II and was thwarted by a rules change by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. Unshaken, Paris commenced his fourth attempt last year. In addition to the kiwi mascot pictured on the hull of the boat, the names of organizations and individuals who made donations to the Foundation in honor of his journey kept him company on his voyage.
Sadly, Paris’ most recent adventure was marked by a series of unfortunate events and critical equipment failures. “Never in my over 100,000 sea miles have I had so much go wrong so soon,” Paris noted on his blog documenting the attempt.
In a special message to those who have shown their support of the Kiwi Spirit’s journey and the Foundation, Paris noted, “While I failed on my four attempts to solo circumnavigate, your support of the Foundation’s many successes is appreciated. I take comfort in knowing that these names were on both of my boats and that they traveled some 55,000 miles with me.”
The gifts made to the Foundation in honor of Paris’ journey have helped the Foundation continue to grow in the scope and reach of its research grants, scholarships, and fellowships. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Foundation has funded more than $17 million in awards. Paris and his wife, Catherine Patla, PT, DHSc, MS, OCS, MTC, FAAOMPT, have also shown unwavering dedication to the physical therapy profession by donating $3 million to establish an endowment for clinical research funding.
For those who have followed Paris’ globe-trekking, there is more to come. The Kiwi Spirit II will not remained docked for long. Among other adventures, Paris has announced plans through his blog to participate in upcoming races. We wish him the best in his journeys.