RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Being able to go outside most of the year and exercise or play sports is a major perk for a lot of us. It’s also what makes living in central North Carolina so great.

However, this isn’t the same luxury some people have. 

Tony Luparello and Wes Hall are looking to change that for people with disabilities.

They are co-founders of  North Carolina Adapted Sports, an inclusive and equitable community for individuals with physical disabilities. 

“When you’re out here enjoying this beautiful weather and this beautiful park, it’s just something life-giving about it,” Luparello said.

(Darran Todd/CBS 17)

Both sat down and spoke with CBS 17 about some of the challenges they face as disabled individuals starting a new non-profit geared towards sharing positivity and promoting athleticism. 

“At the core, it’s this desire to be an athlete again,” Luparello shared. “After I lost both of my legs, I didn’t feel like I could do anything. I was dealing with some depression after that.”

“There is 1.12 million people in Wake County and about 1.5 million people in the Triangle area; 13% of them have disabilities,” Hall said.

Their goal is to first make the trails accessible for all who miss the thrill of sporting, but might have a hard time because of their disability.

Hall said one of the most challenging parts, aside from getting approved for a 5013c, is riding on a trail with bridges that are not wheelchair or cycle friendly for disabled individuals. 

“That particular loop we couldn’t even get across. I would have to get off the bike and pull my bike across, I’d pull his bike across and help him get across the bridge,” Hall told us.

Now they’re going from trail to trail, at Lake Crabtree and Harris Lake, creating bridges that are wider and more suitable for disabled cyclists.

(Darran Todd/CBS 17)

“Just this idea that there are options, like Wes eluded to, most people with a psychical disability or handicap — they’re not aware of this yet!,” Luparello said.

They both started the company up in April of 2022.

During that time they were able to raise $29,600 and received a $20,000 grant from Dominion Energy.

The funds raised and granted would go towards recruiting other disabled cyclist to get up and join the ride, buy new equipment for cyclist and modify existing bridges in these areas with a new inclusive bridge for all.  

If you would like to donate or volunteer with NC Adapted Sports, click here.

If you would also like to apply for a grant with Dominion Energy, click here.