Minnesota Paraplegic Yoga Teacher and Author Named Semifinalist in National Hero...
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Minnesota Paraplegic Yoga Teacher and Author Named Semifinalist in National Hero Award Program National vote underway for the 6th Annual Volvo for life Awards; $100,000 charitable contributions awarded to finalists; winner receives Volvo car for life IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- At age 13, Matthew Sanford from Duluth, Minn., now aged 42, was involved in a car crash that took the lives of his father and sister, and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Advice from his doctors to "forget his lower body," however, was what really crippled Sanford, leading him to ignore his once-athletic body, until he discovered yoga at age 25 and the power of the mind-body connection. Now a nationally recognized yoga teacher, author and renowned expert in mind-body integration who has inspired and enhanced the lives of thousands, Sanford is in the running to be named "America's Greatest Hometown Hero." He has been identified as one of the nation's top 40 heroes in the 6th Annual Volvo for life Awards -- an annual, nationwide search for real-life heroes across America. Beginning today, the American public can visit http://www.volvoforlifeawards.com and vote for Sanford. This democratic vote will decide the program finalists in Volvo's hero search. Three winning heroes will receive $100,000 for their charities. One extraordinary winner will receive a new Volvo car every three years for life. In 2001, Sanford founded Mind Body Solutions, a non-profit organization dedicated to the simple and practical notion that minds and bodies work better together, offering programs in the workplace, in corporations, at the yoga studio and in the community at large. Sanford teaches yoga to people of all abilities at the Courage Center in Golden Valley and at studios throughout the country, but he is a pioneer in adapting yoga for people living with disabilities. Sanford also shares his philosophy on the fundamental importance of the mind-body relationship for everyone through his personal memoir Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, and a busy schedule of speaking engagements to a broad base of audiences nationwide. He is currently using his personal experience to help transform the delivery of healthcare, including an initiative for veterans. Since 2002, Volvo Cars of North America has identified more than 18,000 everyday heroes in its annual Volvo for life Awards, and has contributed millions of dollars to their causes. "Once again, Volvo is inviting America itself to serve as one of the Volvo for life Awards judges," said Anne Belec, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars of North America. "Last year we had an overwhelming response with more than 700,000 votes tallied. This year's heroes are top notch. It will be tough to narrow the field down and pick winners, but Volvo is confident that America is up to the challenge. " In the end, every vote counts. Ten heroes have been selected in the categories of Safety, Quality of Life, Environment and the Butterfly Award, Volvo's youth category. The voting period will determine three finalists in each category. Visit http://www.volvoforlifeawards.com and learn more about what the top 40 hometown heroes are doing to make the world a better place now and in the future. Most importantly, support Sanford with your vote and help bring more funding to your community. Volvo Cars of North America leads the national initiative, honoring and rewarding local heroes with financial contributions each year. This year, Volvo doubled the charitable donation amount given to the top three winners. One top hero in each of the categories of Safety, Quality of Life and Environment will receive $100,000 for their charities; two runners-up in each category will receive $25,000. One extraordinary winner will go on to receive the title "America's Greatest Hometown Hero," and with it, a new Volvo car every three years for life. A fourth Volvo for life Awards category is up for grabs this year -- but only America's kids can reach it. Volvo is elevating its annual Butterfly Award to its own youth hero category -- with a $25,000 prize for the winner and $10,000 to two runners up. When the voting period ends January 7, 2008, a panel of distinguished judges will select one winner in each of the four categories. A grand award winner, selected from the Safety, Quality of Life and Environment categories, will be named "America's Greatest Hometown Hero" and presented with a new Volvo car every three years for the rest of his or her life at the annual Volvo for life Awards Ceremony in New York City, March 19, 2008. To learn more, or to vote for your favorite hero, visit http://www.volvoforlifeawards.com. A Spanish version of the site can also be accessed at this address. SOURCE Volvo Cars of North America Carol Schuler of Haberman & Associates, +1-612-372-6451 email@example.com, for Volvo Cars of North America