“Where There’s a Wheel, There’s a Way” SGR Clients Roll Across the Finish Line

This article is about two of my favorite clients with disabilities. In my 34 years of serving families challenged by the special needs of their loved ones with various disabilities, Kyle Pease and Tim Beighley have revolutionized the way I now collaborate with families to develop and implement comprehensive special needs estate plans. My colleague, Emma Barry, who recently joined SGR, has already benefited greatly from her early experience with the Pease and Beighley families as she develops her expertise in this challenging estate planning subspecialty that very few traditional estate planning attorneys pursue.

Kyle and Tim are handsome young men filled with joy, notwithstanding the cerebral palsy that shackles their bodies. They are also loving sons to their parents, who have tirelessly supported them in their efforts to overcome the challenges of their physical limitations. Kyle and Tim are spirit-filled Christians whose faith sustains them as they encounter myriad predicaments each day. They are both ambassadors for others with disabilities who struggle to live full and inclusive lives in their communities. They have demonstrated how persons with significant disabilities can have happy and fulfilling lives on their own terms. “I choose to look at my life as a blessing – an opportunity to show the world that my disability is actually a gift, an ability with slight modifications,” Kyle says. One of Tim’s favorite quotes, from Randy Pausch, is “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

Even though they use wheelchairs to get around, Tim and Kyle are experienced athletes who regularly compete in road races – 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons and full marathons around the country under the auspices of the Kyle Pease Foundation (www.kylepeasefoundation.org). The Foundation facilitates the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their larger communities through innovative sports programming. Engineers design and build customized racing chariots for racers who use wheelchairs. Each “rolling” racer is paired with a running racer. As a team, these athletes participate in races throughout the country – Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C., and Boulder, Colorado, to name just a few of their recent race venues. Kyle has even competed in several Ironman competitions with his brother, Brent. Each year, Kyle and Tim cross the finish line to the applause and cheers of their many fans.

In their free time Kyle and Tim spread messages of faith, acknowledging that their disabilities give them a platform to do so. Kyle composes an online daily devotional that inspires hundreds of followers with his insights, while Tim is about to finish his chaplaincy studies so that he can minister to college students. They are both in demand as motivational speakers, bringing hope to those who feel hopeless as a consequence of their own disabling conditions.

Tim is an ambassador for Champions Place, a new residential community underway in Roswell, Georgia, for young adults with physical disabilities (www.championscommunityfoundation.org). This housing model will be replicated in cities across the nation. Tim is also a spokesman for Canine Assistants, in Milton, Georgia (www.canineassistants.org), which raised and trained his certified service dog, Ringer, to be his canine partner. Kyle has worked for many years at the Buckhead campus of Piedmont Hospital, cheerfully guiding patients and visitors through the maze of professional buildings, offices and hospital facilities where even regulars routinely get lost. He is beloved by the medical staff, patients and visitors.

So the next time you feel discouraged, be lifted up and inspired by my friends and clients, Kyle Pease and Tim Beighley, who helped make 2017 the most rewarding year of my career. As the motto of the Kyle Pease Foundation so aptly proclaims: “Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way.”

Kristen Lewis is counsel in SGR’s Tax Practice. She specializes in estate planning and wealth protection, and is a frequent speaker on elder and special needs topics.