August 23, 2014 is the kind of day you don’t forget. Like a birthday, wedding anniversary, high school graduation, and the birth of a child you do not forget the traumatic events that change the course of your life, without consent, forever changing how you live. On my Alive Day, several years ago a seemingly innocent dive from the bow of my boat altered my life forever. But this is more of a telling of what came afterwards and not a call for pity.
Since my alive day I have:
- Cheated death several times during my hospitalization.
- Come to the realization that the VA healthcare system is superior to any civilian run spinal cord facility.
- Realized the depth that my friends and family care for me.
- Made many great new friends.
- Used my personal experience to raise awareness for people living with spinal cord injuries.
- Continue to be a partner to my fiancé and father to my three girls.
- Received assistance from all types of sources. Including: Paralyzed Veterans of America, Chive Charities, Department of the VA, Stack-Up, The Internet
- Renewed my faith in family, particularly my parents who have been more helpful than I could’ve imagined.
My Alive Day
Besides advocating for people and doing the charitable work that I do I have not changed that much. My fiancé Tina may disagree with that; but my mental character and capacities seem to be the same. It’s very important to understand that catastrophic injuries do not have to alter the type of individual you are, or the type of life you live. It definitely should not stop anyone from getting up every morning and facing the day just like anyone else. I’m no more an inspiration or hero then the person who works and takes care of the family. I just do it without hands.
Make sure every day that you meet your potential, hug your loved ones, and don’t put off anything that means anything. Life can change literally in the blink of an eye. #Charliestrong