Richmonder, adaptive athlete, disability advocate, social media star are all names you can associate with Cole Sydnor. Now you can add husband to that list. On November 7, Cole and Charisma Jamison married at the Virginia House in front of a small group of family members and live streamed it to more than 150 guests. You may know them from their popular YouTube channel, Roll with Cole and Charisma. Their channel highlights their relationship as an interabled and interracial couple. With over 500,000 followers, Cole and Charisma have become something of social media celebrities. And with a recent feature in The New York Times, their celebrity is sure to grow.
Before Cole and Charisma met and shortly after Cole’s accident in 2011, Cole and his mother, Kelly Sydnor, began hosting the popular “Roll with Cole Sport-a-thon,” a grass-roots community sporting event designed to raise funding for local and national organizations who support disabled athletes. The tremendous success of the Sport-a-thon encouraged Kelly and Cole to form their own non-profit. In 2016, Roll with Cole, NFP was launched to foster active, healthy, and mobile lifestyles through adaptive sports and educational events and to support other local organizations who share in their mission to increase awareness and provide access to an array of recreational opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Cole and I started Roll with Cole, NFP as a way to pay forward all the support our family received after Cole’s diving accident in 2011 that left him a quadriplegic,” said Kelly Sydnor. “There were some dark days early on, but there have been many miracles since then and we want to share that hope with others who have similar stories.”
Paying it forward they certainly are. Roll with Cole, NFP is providing a matching challenge gift to Sportable of up to $20,000 to establish the organization’s first-ever Adaptive Athlete Support Fund. The challenge is for the community and Sportable supporters to raise a total of $20,000 to receive the full matching gift from Roll with Cole. Every dollar given to Sportable through the end of the year will be matched, essentially doubling every donor’s gift.
The money raised will directly benefit individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments by creating the Adaptive Athlete Support Fund. The Fund will be used to help reduce financial barriers for adaptive athletes while furthering Sportable’s mission to make sports accessible and inclusive. It will support direct programming expenses, travel stipends, and equipment purchases for qualified athletes.
An avid athlete in high school, Cole attests that after his injury he felt that a huge part of his life had been ripped away from him. “For years I didn’t realize that there was a whole adaptive sports world out there,” he continued. “With Sportable, we are extremely fortunate to have an organization that provides opportunities for people like me who want to get out and compete despite our disability.” Cole goes on to say, “we are still able to be competitive if you just give us the opportunity. That’s why my family wants to give adaptive athletes access to the opportunities that Sportable provides.”
Please consider supporting an adaptive athlete like Cole today. Donations can be made at Sportable.org/donate.
Watch Cole’s announcement of the matching challenge here: