Rob Roozeboom, 36, is founder and president of RISE Ministries, an organization that teaches teens and adults how to overcome adversity in their lives.
Roozeboom travels the country giving motivational speeches to a variety of audiences. He speaks from experience, drawing from his own journey through depression, loneliness, substance abuse and suicidal despair.
He also shares his insights on a daily radio program called “Rise Above Radio.” His minute-long segments, designed to motivate and inspire young people, are heard on more than 300 stations worldwide.
Roozeboom is also the co-founder of the annual Rise Above Festival, a family event that combines speakers, comedians, skateboarders, BMX riders and bands. Thousands attend festival each summer to enjoy the activities and spend time with their families and friends.
Roozeboom was found to have limb-girdle muscular dystrophy in his teens — around the time he was hoping to realize his dreams of becoming a farmer and an athlete. The progressive disease causes weakness and muscle wasting, initially affecting the shoulder and pelvic girdle muscles. Currently, Roozeboom is ambulatory.
Roozeboom and his wife, Sharla, often speak on behalf of MDA and represent the Association at fundraisers and sponsor events across the country. In 2001 and 2002, he was profiled on the national broadcasts of the MDA Labor Day Telethon.
The Roozebooms, their son, Jager, and daughters, Riley and Aidan, look forward with enthusiasm each fall to participating in the harvest of their family's crops.