Heroes Among Us

How to Send 510 Kids to College

UPDATED 09/03/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/03/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT

Dr. Hugo Keim, 72, and Alicia Keim, 59
Founders, ChairScholars Foundation

HELPING DISABLED STUDENTS: The Odessa, Fla., couple has raised more than $6 million since 1992 to provide college scholarships for 510 young people with conditions ranging from cerebral palsy to accident-related paralysis. They also go into schools to tell kids with disabilities they should think about collegeā€”a goal many view as out of reach.

A MILE IN THEIR SHOES: Married since 1985, they both understand challenges. As a young woman, Alicia had scoliosis so severe it left her bent at an 85-degree angle. Hugo was blinded in his left eye after a childhood accident. "But, with support, you can achieve great things," says Hugo, who attended medical school and, after 20 training programs rejected him because of his vision, went on to become an orthopedic surgeon.

RESULTS: "The scholarship changed everything," says Lisamarie Osorio, 19, who has cerebral palsy and will start at Florida's Hillsborough Community College. Joel Post, 37, a Keim scholarship recipient paralyzed from the chest down after a childhood diving accident, now works as an operations manager. "The Keims invited me to dinner, asked me about my dreams," he says. "Without them, I wouldn't have the life I have today."

Know a hero? Send suggestions to HEROESAMONGUS@PEOPLEMAG.COM For more info, go to WWW.CHAIRSCHOLARS.ORG

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