To be young again. Standing at the bottom of a fresh pile of gravel, small stones sliding as I dig my boot in deeper to make mound towers. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Breathing in the dust, the must, and embracing the challenge of a new day. I grew up in the hills of Clemson, South Carolina. I think I was born to play in the dirt. As a young boy I was obsessed with riding my dirt bike. The thrill and excitement of the ride was where I developed a pleasure for adrenaline!
I had a good childhood; however there were struggles along the way. At age 11, my parents divorced. My two siblings and I lived with my dad. He was busy with a demanding job. During this time I found myself searching for identify, purpose - just a young kid trying to navigate life. I enjoyed sports. I even attended church on Sundays. But as I grew older, my interests changed. Sports became less important and the social scene became a priority in my life. I enjoyed my friends. The laughs, the drinks, the camaraderie.
After high school, I enrolled in technical school and secured a job at Valvoline. I took great pride in working with my hands and on automobiles. My pursuit for the party life continued. On March 2, 2001, my life changed forever from bad decisions. After a night of drinking, I got behind the wheel of my car. Foolishly I thought I would be alright. At 2:00am, in the darkest of days, fate caught up with me. In a 25 mph speed zone, I saw a flash of blue lights. In a state of deep intoxication and out of sheer desperation I made yet another irrational decision. I attempted to flee and evade the police officer. At 120 mph, I lost control of the car. The car flipped and traveled forty feet until the devastating impact into an oak tree.
My next memory was when I woke from unconsciousness in ICU. I broke my neck and back and was diagnosed as a T4-T5 paraplegic. I was paralyzed from the waist down in the prime of my life because of a series of bad decisions. My life had changed forever.
My life was spared that dark morning. My life could have easily slipped away because of my choices. But I survived. Why? Perhaps, so I could share and prevent others from drinking and driving. Perhaps, I was spared because it took me losing my legs to discover true purpose in life. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. But every day I make the choice to lay down my past mistakes and use them as stepping stones.
I can confidently say that my injury has made me the man I am today. Will you follow me here as I share my journey? It is my greatest hope that my stories will encourage at least one person that life is worth a fight. That when meet with adversity you must always find the will to push on.
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0116/0140