RENO/TAHOE — Grant Korgan battled temperatures of 50 degrees below zero, winds of 35 miles an hour and whiteouts as he propelled himself for 12 days across the ice of Antarctica.
Korgan, who was paralyzed in a snowmobile accident in 2010, became the first adaptive athlete to reach the South Pole after completing the 75-mile trek in a sit-ski last January.
Writing, publishing and marketing a book about the experience is proving to be a different — but still daunting — challenge these days for Korgan and his wife, Shawna.
The first boxes of books were delivered to the porch of their Sparks home a couple of weeks ago, but the Korgans were so busy that the boxes sat unopened for nearly a day.
“Two Feet Back” — the book to which Korgan devoted six hours a day since shortly after his arrival home last winter — is published by Lucky Bat Books, headquartered in Minden.
Through those long hours at the computer, Korgan knew he wasn't writing a book to make a few bucks. He was writing what he considers to be a message with the potential to change the lives of thousands of readers.
“The success of the book will be determined by the positive impact it has,” says Korgan, an Incline Village native. “Our goal is to empower people to live life to the fullest.”
The couple's marketing plan is designed to get that message to as many people as possible, both through the book and through other venues, such as personal appearances.
“If people don't know about it, they don't know about it,” says Shawna Korgan.
They are relying heavily on social media as a marketing tool. A three-minute video created to promote the book and Korgan's story had drawn 2,500 views within its first few days on YouTube, and the couple is hoping the video goes viral.
“We've all seen movie trailers,” says Shawna Korgan. “This is a book trailer.”
They're working, too, to line up public-speaking appearances. He is scheduled to keynote the annual Healthcare Forum of The Chamber on Oct. 3, speaking for an hour on the steps individuals can take to empower themselves in their search for health and a balanced life.
Between a heavy schedule of physical conditioning, the development of marketing strategies, the delivery of his message of the power of positivity, Grant Korgan doesn't have much time for sleep.
On the other hand, he says the injury left him unable to sleep well. The extra time is important.
“It's about being willing to do the work,” he says. Writing initially was a challenge for Korgan, who worked as a research project leader in the fields of microtechnology and nanotechnology and spent his weekends as a top adventure athlete before the snowmobile accident.
Day after day, the book required him to revisit the initial ordeal and moments of discovery.
“It's an intense process to share with the world some of your most intense moments,” he says. “You always want to stay with the truth.”
He tells, too, of the importance of a network of supporters, most importantly his wife, who helped him shape his philosophy of shedding the weight of limitations and living life to the fullest.
Physicians and therapists at Spine Nevada in Reno, Korgan says, are among the heroes of his story.
“They have been instrumental in my recovery,” he says.
And he's always careful to say that the couple has no complaints, none at all, about their busy, busy lives these days.
“Our schedule has been packed with smiles and awesomeness,” he says.