Adam Kreiger’s Legacy: BeachWheels for Beach Haven

Aug 29, 2018
Supplied Photo

It has been 25 years since Adam Kreiger lost his battle to bone cancer at age 20. His mother, a longtime Beach Haven summer resident, has kept his memory alive through a fund in his name to help make lives better for disabled people. Shelley Kreiger said this includes providing specially made wheelchairs for people accessing the beaches in the borough. Working hand in hand with the beach patrol, Kreiger said, she has donated four “BeachWheels” during this summer season.

She noted the BeachWheels are designed with compact, wider wheels to enable a person to maneuver the sand. They cost around $2,000 each.

“You can’t do that with a regular wheelchair,” she said. “When Adam was ill and had trouble walking, we’d have to carry him to the blanket because the wheelchair couldn’t move over the sand.”

Mike Lawrence, Beach Haven Beach Patrol chief, said Kreiger has donated seven wheelchairs over the last four years. He said the demand for them has grown since beach replenishment has resulted in higher dunes, making it more difficult for disabled people to access the beach entrances.

“We’re very thankful for her generosity,” he said.

Councilman Jim White added that Kreiger also donated two benches in memory of her son and husband.

“They’re sitting near the lifeguard headquarters on Centre Street,” he said. “She’s a very remarkable woman who has given so much.”

In addition to the BeachWheels, the fund has also made an impact on the family’s home state of Connecticut, where donations have been made for park and recreational equipment and Special Olympics programs.

On the Adam Krieger Fund’s website is a message written by Adam shortly before he died in 1993.

“If my life has been of any value, then people will mourn me by laughing, smiling. Don’t waste time missing me, I’m at the beach – come and spend some time. Enjoy it, breathe in the fresh salt air, celebrate the natural beauty of the ocean meeting the land.”

“He lived for the beach,” said his mother. “When we would come down to the Island from Connecticut, he couldn’t wait to see the ocean and go on the beach. So in his remembrance, we hope that other people with physical difficulties would also experience that same enjoyment.”          

— Eric Englund

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