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In February 2012, a life-threatening staph infection nearly killed him; on Valentine’s Day, he actually flat-lined for a short time. He endured months of hospitalization and multiple surgeries, partially paralyzed for much of the time. Told he might never walk again, the extremely active and tough RE/MAX leader fell into despair.

Liniger ultimately leaned on the optimistic, goal-oriented mindset that had guided his own success, and that of RE/MAX. He knew he couldn’t give up, and shouldn’t give up, so he decided he wouldn’t give up.

From that point on, Liniger focused completely on recovery. He attacked physical therapy with his trademark tenacity. He set benchmarks and goals: If he could walk 10 steps, he could walk 100—and then 1,000. He struggled along the way, but kept moving toward self-sufficiency. Finally, with limited mobility despite months of rehabilitation, he returned to work in July 2012.

Fast-forward to the RE/MAX R4 Convention in February 2013 and an unforgettable Opening General Session. Liniger, who a year earlier had missed the convention for the first time ever, appeared on stage and shared his story with a crowd of more than 7,000 RE/MAX Associates from around the world. When he finished his emotional address, he stood up from his motorized wheelchair and, with only a cane, walked off the stage to a thunderous ovation—an electrifying moment in RE/MAX history.

The overwhelming support for the RE/MAX leader at R4 confirmed that his struggle, detailed in his New York Times best-selling book, “My Next Step: An Extraordinary Journey of Healing and Hope,” was well worth the battle.