When Gary Hershey started with Symbius Medical, it had two employees. Now with over 100 employees, Mr. Hershey is directly responsible for the Symbius Medical Urological sales team. His experience prior to Symbius included successes in business, as a wheelchair athlete and motivational speaker, as well as 18 years working at and managing radio stations throughout Arizona after graduating first in his class at Arizona Tech School of Broadcasting. Hershey served as the immediate past President of the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association Board of Directors, and is a member of the Ensuring Accessible Seating at Events (EASE) Committee at Chase Field and U.S. Airways Center. He is also an accredited Peer Mentor for new patients, as well as existing patients with spinal cord injuries.
His firsthand knowledge comes from his own life experiences. As a junior in high school Hershey became partially paralyzed as a result of a near-fatal motorcycle accident, becoming a high-level quad. When asked about the accident that changed his life, he said, “I would not change anything. I have no regrets. I believe everything happens for a reason!” This experience allows him to share with others his 40 years of living with an injury.
As a wheelchair athlete, Hershey has “bungee jumped out of a hot air balloon” and participated in “other crazy activities.” Hershey has played on wheelchair softball teams and has won four world championships. Additionally, Hershey mentors police officers who have been shot in the line of duty and has twice has received the coveted “Barrier Busters” award from the Arizona chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Hershey is also president of the Spinal Cord Association of Arizona. He has strengthened its peer mentoring program which reaches out to people who suffer spinal cord injuries. Hershey visits people in the hospital shortly after they are injured, which he calls a “critical time” because they have lots of concerns and are very uncertain about their futures. Hershey stresses that if they take care of the selves they can live a long and productive life.
Hershey and the Spinal Cord Association make the necessary arrangements so the injured, soon after their release from the hospital, can attend sporting events. “We work to keep them active, to help them be productive citizens, to go to school, to find careers and do things.”
As a motivational speaker, Hershey says “I share my experiences and my story with hundreds of other people about living with spinal cord injuries.”