Eric LeGrand opens up about his new Kentucky Straight bourbon
His body may not be able to do the things he wants because of a catastrophic injury that left him paralyzed while playing for Rutgers but Eric LeGrand's mind and business acumen never stops.
The Scarlet Knight legend who has become an inspiration to us all has come out with his first-ever whiskey brand, Eric LeGrand Kentucky Straight Bourbon, right here in New Jersey. LeGrand called me on New Jersey 101.5 to discuss.
"I'm excited about it. My partner, Brian (Axelrod),and I've been working on this project for about a year and a half, two years. And we made an announcement that we're going to do it last year right after I opened up the coffee shop to let people know that my mind is always going."
"I want people to be able to enjoy this bourbon that we have. And because I enjoyed life as people don't realize that I can enjoy a cocktail or things like that."
How does Eric prefer his bourbon?
"I'd like to drink it neat. So I want other people to have that same experience and just end the stigma for someone with a disability."
Part of the proceeds from Eric Legrand Kentucky Straight Bourbon will go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
"There's a purpose behind everything that I do. And we want to be able to raise funds for equipment and the Reeve Foundation. So we can find a cure for paralysis and be able to help all these different clinical trials that will be going on throughout the country in the upcoming years and be able to live Christopher Reeve's dream of empty wheelchairs."
"If you guys know me from my Rutgers playing days, my number was 52. So every case that we sell, $5.20 will be donated to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. So we want to sell as many cases as possible. People are enjoying the bourbon, but it's for a great cause as well helping 5.6 million Americans dealing with some sort of paralysis."
Since you've been involved with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, what kind of progress have you seen?
"It's amazing to see where epidural stimulation has taken off to having to get surgery implanted on the inside of your spine. So now working with onward are based out of Switzerland, where they're doing stimulation on the outside of the people's body now."
"So you don't have to have a full procedure and to see the differences of the way that it's working for people using walkers, being able to regain function in our bowels and bladder sensation throughout their body. And as the little things that happen, a lot of times someone sees somebody with a spinal cord injury, they just think, oh, they can't move in a wheelchair. But no, there are a lot of secondary complications that come with it. And we're able to, with the research and development as well not to be able to cure some of those little goals and make people get to have a better quality of life."
What do you see lying ahead?
"I truly believe in my lifetime, God willing, that we will find a cure for paralysis. Obviously, it doesn't happen overnight. I've been injured for 12 and a half years now. But I still believe and I'm still pushing obviously, I want to do my part and use my platform to be able to raise awareness, raise the funds that we're going to leave now and in the future and take this to the next level where one day, we can look at a spinal cord injury and just say you know what, they got an injury while they can go through surgery and they can go to rehab. And that'd be walking again and that really believes in the miracles that can happen through God."
Eric Legrand Kentucky Straight bourbon is available in liquor stores throughout New Jersey and you can also get it delivered to your door by clicking here.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
You can now listen to Steve Trevelise — On Demand! Discover more about New Jersey’s personalities and what makes the Garden State interesting. Download the Steve Trevelise show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.