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Remembering Travis Roy '95

Dear Tabor Community,
We are immensely saddened to share that a man who has meant so much to Tabor Academy and who has made such a positive impact on our world has passed away. Travis Roy ’95 was a hockey stand out during his time here at Tabor. But, he has been so much more to all of us. A dedicated Trustee since 2014, the Class of 2015’s esteemed graduation speaker, spinal cord injury philanthropist, role model, true hero and friend, he lived a life of passion and purpose. We are all the better having known him.

Travis Roy arrived at Tabor as a junior in the fall of 1993. He played soccer, golf and hockey, of course, and served as a Proctor during his senior year. At Tabor, Trav also discovered his knack for ceramics, a skill he was proud of since it had nothing to do with sports. He matriculated to Boston University, where in 1995 he was living out his dream of playing Division 1 hockey. However, on October 20, 1995, eleven seconds into his first shift, Travis hit the end boards head-on and was paralyzed from his shoulders down.   

In his TEDx BU talk, Travis shared: Paralysis in a way … it’s amazing in its simplicity.  No sensation. No mobility. Just this head on my shoulders that enables me to navigate each day. And this brain that allows me to feel all the emotions that anyone else does.  As it turns out, that’s all I need to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

And Travis’ life was full of meaning and inspiration. He dedicated his life’s work toward helping other spinal cord injury survivors by starting the Travis Roy Foundation in 1996. Since its inception, the TRF has awarded over $4.6 million to fund research for finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. Every season the Tabor boys’ hockey team raises money in support of the TRF, each pledging to raise $24 for #24. The team also has a long-standing tradition of competing against Saint Sebastian’s School for the Travis Roy Cup each year.   

We have always been reminded of Trav each time we step into the Travis Roy Rink here at Tabor Academy to cheer on our teams, but today, as we walk down the Fish Center Concourse, we feel a deep sadness for the loss of our friend, colleague, alum, and inspiration.

Rest easy, dear Travis. You made it.

With deepest sympathy to Brenda, Lee and Tobi. 

Julie Salit
Interim Head of School
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  • Wendy & Larry Bidstrup
    It was an honor to have known Travis and serve as his advisor at tabor He was a beautiful person and well-loved by all. Sending comfort to the Roy family. the angels have a shining golden star in their midst now. Fair thee well, Trav.
  • Kim Gindhart
    Our thoughts are with the Roy family. The life that Travis lived and all he accomplished after his injury became the story. He helped and inspired so many people that you will never be able to count. Everyone who heard him speak in person or watched any interview online has been changed by his wisdom. So many struggle to find purpose, his message resonates with everyone. My son was lucky to have met Travis while at Tabor and took his advice to heart, soaking in the whole experience and taking nothing for granted. Few of us will leave such a legacy, thanks to Travis for setting a great example.
  • Susan Kenny
    The world is a lesser place without Travis but his spirit will live on in the countless lives that he touched. My heartfelt condolences go out to the Roy family on their loss. You raised an amazing son, an incredible man...a true inspiration.
  • Susan Karp
    My heart goes out to his family and friends. He inspired so many during his brief lifetime. My deepest condolences.
  • Annie Camins '92
    Travis, your immense passion to help others was commendable and we will never forget you. Thanks for leaving a lasting mark in 45 short years. I'm so glad I got to see you in Chicago in 2018 when we hosted your event. Love to you and your family during these difficult times.
  • Angela Hahn
    I remember the news story about Travis' accident in 1995; I was living and working in the Boston area at the time. I thought the accident was a tragic end to a young man's hopes and dreams for his life. Back then, I had no connection to Tabor. Fast forward over 20 years, when my son became a Tabor student, and I realized that Travis Roy had not disappeared into anonymity--he had made his life meaningful and helped so many others, I have to believe through sheer force of will, and a refusal to give up. What an inspiring life he led. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
  • Gerry Peck
    I never met Travis, but knew his story. I graduated in '84 so our paths never crossed. But I followed his story here and there over the years. Even so, reading of his passing brought a sense of sadness to me. If Travis had that effect on me I can only imagine what he did for those who had the privilege of knowing him and loving him. I pray for peace for Travis's family. He is skating in God's Grace.
  • HD Barnett
    My deepest condolences to Mr Roy's family and friends. He turned his personal curse into a blessing for the rest of us. May he skate forever on pristine ice.
  • Joy Menard
    Travis was an outstanding human. Rest in peace. God bless the Roy family and their friends.
  • Lawrence Kook
    Whether we were at Tabor or BU, Travis was nice to me even though he was a star in the hockey team. I learned how to treat everyone equally and be nice to people even if we have different cultural background because of Travis. Thank you for your leadership and just being you. Rest in peace Travis.
  • Dana Seero
    Got to know Travis personally when I participated in his 2018 Beanpot Challenge. After our game at Agganis, he was out on the ice, doing donuts in his chair. Indomitable spirit. “His parting dims the day, Stealing grace from all alive.”
  • Dave Foss
    Travis was a great man, an inspiration to all, not just those suffering from disabilities and catastrophic injuries. His service to others was his purpose in life, and we are so much better to have had him in our lives. God bless you Travis.
  • Donna Palmer
    Service before self is the perfect motto for Travis! He was a wonderful person, deserving of so much admiration. Sending much sympathy, healing thoughts and love to the Roy family, and to his friends and for all those he helped through the TRF. Travis leaves an amazing legacy that will never be forgotten.
  • G. Richard Duffy
    My old fried - you will never die in my mind - your spirit and tremendous will will remain in me until I join you. My hear was broken when I heard this distressing news and I miss you very much but you will always remain in my prayers. RIP my friend. To the Roy family I want you to know that your son was the very best person I have ever encountered in my 83 years on this earth - you raised a true champion!
  • Emilie Liebhoff
    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Roy, and Tobi, I was deeply saddened to hear of Travis’ passing. My heart breaks for your loss, and I wish I could give you all a hug, even though so much time has passed. My heart is also warm in celebration for all Travis did to make a positive impact on our world. There aren’t words to describe the immense admiration I have for Travis, both before and after his accident. I remember the first time I laid eyes on Travis, a cute hockey player from ME. But, as we knew then, and know even moreso now, he offered so much more to this world than the incredible talent he had at hockey. I’ll never forget the awe I felt when I first saw Travis sit down in the lunchroom at Tabor with a classmate who had few friends. I knew Travis was different, mature beyond his years, and I so admired him for that—and I aspired to be like him. I watched him in classes and on the ice—he was a leader and difference maker in every aspect of his life, and he did that with such humility. About a year ago, Travis and I had lunch. It was like no time had passed, and the same Travis I loved and admired was still there—caring about others beyond himself, and asking me about my family and children. It’s been said a thousand times, though worth saying again, he made the world a better place each day with his actions, kindness, humility, and words. And, he made his situation a launching pad for changing other lives for the better. I feel blessed and grateful to have known and loved Travis. Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss. Love, Emilie (Schnitman) Liebhoff
  • pops dan chris owen heaslip
    GOD receives someone very special today. Bless his heart
  • Caroline Watson-Felt
    Above all, Travis was one of the kindest and most lovingly mindful people I think I've ever met at Tabor. As a senior my Freshman year, it was his kindness that set him apart and that's what I've always remembered the most about him. Travis was a warrior of kindness, commitment, and overcoming any challenge in front of him. We all learned a lot from him. Sending my sincere condolences to the Roy family at this incredibly difficult time.

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    A forecaster himself, Bruce Cobbold, taught us Heraclitus’ famous axiom, “Change is the only constant in life.” While this may never be truer than it is today, we are certainly better than ever at forecasting.
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    A forecaster himself, Bruce Cobbold, taught us Heraclitus’ famous axiom, “Change is the only constant in life.” While this may never be truer than it is today, we are certainly better than ever at forecasting.
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