Steve Laux is one busy man. This motivated 35-year-old works as a full-time marketing manager for Medtronic, regularly volunteers with the in Golden Valley, and is a father to three children under the age of three. It’s a hectic life by any standards, but this Maple Grove man tackles all of those roles from a wheelchair.
“He amazes so many people, including me,” Steve Laux’s wife, Chau, said. “His disability really doesn’t slow him down.”
Laux’s disability is the result of a diving accident. In 1998 the adventurous University of Michigan student decided to visit Duluth while in Minnesota working on a summer internship. Laux went cliff diving near the Split Rock Lighthouse, broke his neck and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The accident left Laux paralyzed. In medical terms, Laux is a quadriplegic, with limited use of all four limbs.
“My life dropped, it changed in an instant,” Laux said of his accident. “But it’s not empowering to dwell on what could have been, so I made a decision early on not to let the accident slow me down.”
Fast-forward fourteen years and Laux has everything he thought he would have before the accident. He has a thriving career with Medtronic, including a two-year stint on the Fridley campus. His desire to help others, led him to the Courage Center, where he met his wife. Now the couple has three kids, Mackenzie, 3, and two twin girls, Dakota and Devon, who are 11 months old.
“It’s true parenting from a wheelchair is a challenge, but being a parent is all about being creative and living with a disability is about being creative too,” Laux said. (See Laux’s creative parenting in the videos posted with this article).
“Besides a wheelchair is the ultimate stroller, I can carry all three kids, shopping bags and still fit through the door,” he quipped.
His ability to overcome challenges and keep a positive attitude are just a few reasons why a friend nominated Laux for the ‘Best Dad on Wheels’ competition, sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. As one of ten finalists, Laux says he is thrilled to be recognized by such an organization. According to the website, the annual competition seeks to find a father “living with paralysis who demonstrates important attributes like dedication, love, encouragement and goodwill on a regular basis.”
For Laux, the nomination itself is an honor. “It’s amazing to be included in such an outstanding group of fathers,” he said. “It’s still sinking in that I was nominated for such an award.”
To Laux’s wife, it’s no surprise. “We all know that Steve is the best dad and while I hope he wins, to us, he already is the best dad on wheels,” she said.
To help Laux become the 2012 ‘Best Dad on Wheels’ you can vote online. The dad with the most votes on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation website wins. Voting closes on Father’s Day.