On December 2, 2012, I sustained a severe spinal cord injury while making repairs to my house. I was rushed to Mercy Hospital and had my spinal cord “untwisted” as well as my back fused from T-12 to L-2. My surgeon said he never saw a spine twist so bad without breaking. When I asked how much I would recover all he would say is “You won’t be the man you once were.” I spent 26 days in the hospital doing rehab 2-3 hours a day. In January, I started outpatient rehab at Mercy Riverside.
January was a really tough month for my family and I. I felt my life was over and I had nothing to look forward to. I worked my butt off at therapy but the recovery was painstakingly slow. One day at therapy my physical therapist told me about an event at Prairie Meadows for an organization called SCI CAN. I told my wife about it but I didn’t commit to going. I didn’t like being in public. As time went on, my mood soured and I was mad at the world and withdrawn.
On the day of the SCI CAN Fundraiser, my wife asked me if I wanted to go and I still wouldn’t say yes. About an hour before the event, my wife asked me one last time if I wanted to go and I finally said yes. Little did I know this would be one of the biggest decisions in my life!!
When we arrived at the event the opening remarks were almost done. I sat and listened closely to the lady from the Mayo Clinic as she explained new break throughs in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. That was very encouraging!!
Then featured speaker Chris Norton took the stage and I felt an energy, a positive spirit from a man who wasn’t going to let his spinal cord injury dictate his life. I remember him saying, “You must do something to help you get better every day no matter what. You need to make the best of what you have and never settle for a life that is not fulfilling.”
I left that event with a new outlook on life. Here was this guy whose injury was much worse than mine defying the odds and refusing to let doctors or anyone tell him how much he would recover. I took those words to heart and from that day forward I committed to “DOING SOMETHING EVERY DAY TO HELP ME GET BETTER.” I started feeling better about myself and immersed myself in rehab. I wouldn’t be where I am today if my wife had not persuaded me to go to the SCI CAN Fundraiser, and Chris Norton had not given me hope for a better tomorrow as a person with a spinal cord injury
I approached Chris and Terry Norton shortly after the Fundraiser and told them I believed in the mission of SCI- CAN and wanted to be involved in helping with the annual “Overcoming Adversity” event going forward. I met with them and I have been an event fundraiser the last 2 years. In January 2015, I was asked to be on the board of directors for SCI-CAN. I am ecstatic to be a member of an incredible organization!! Thank you Chris for motivating me and giving me hope for a great tomorrow. I am sure glad my wife convinced me to go to the 1st SCI-CAN “Overcoming Adversity” Fundraiser. That decision saved my life.
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