Tom Haig ’09 Comm.
Basalt Books: 2022
Tom Haig was always a competitor. His thirst for adventure started with springboard diving as a kid in Wisconsin. As an adult, he plunged eight stories into 10 feet of water in high-diving competitions and exhibitions—sometimes while lit on fire. He traveled the world, often broke and without a destination, and took up cycling along the way.
Haig’s diving feats came to a sudden halt on a sunny morning in 1996. He was riding his bike in Portland, Oregon, when he crashed into a truck and lost the use of his legs. That horrible accident put Haig in a wheelchair for life and required him to dig deeper than ever into his competitive nature and love of a challenge.
His memoir, written with wit and raw emotion, draws readers along the journey from Haig’s thrilling youth through his mental and physical trials after the accident, and finally to his rebirth into a new career and adventures.
A key moment in Haig’s life formulated his philosophy: the Bridge to Venice Rule. He and his brother, both in their twenties and broke, were stuck miles outside the Italian city when their car ran out of gas. They walked the rest of the way and vowed to live life to the fullest despite any obstacles. Haig sought new ways to live by that rule after he became paralyzed. That included a passion for storytelling, particularly through video, which brought him to the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.
His broadcasting degree then took him to Nepal, Africa, and other places around the world to document struggles and successes of people with disabilities. It’s just one of many ways that Haig’s story inspires readers to take risks and live generous lives.
Podcast: No obstacles for this global nomad (Conversation with Tom Haig about his adventurous life, struggles, and new memoir)