posted Jun 10, 2013
Injury Level: C4/5
Injury Date: 3/15/2009
On March 15th, 2009 I fell from a second story balcony breaking my C4-C6 vertebras in my neck, resulting in a severe spinal cord injury. I was on a ventilator and paralyzed from the neck down.
New Hanover Regional Medical told me if I wanted to go to Shepherd Catastrophic Hospital in Atlanta, GA I would have to be off oxygen within a week. Each day they reduced the time on the vent to wean me off of its dependence. My entire body hurt so badly and honestly, I wanted to give up… but quitting was never an option.
Once I could breathe functionally without oxygen assistance, I was transferred to Shepherd. After arriving there the battle became clearer. I was confronted with the news that I had a C3 incomplete spinal cord injury. Fortunately I was awarded a three month scholarship which included intense physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy. Shepherd really helped me make the transition of being a disabled citizen in a primarily non-disabled society.
I left Shepherd and returned to Wilmington, NC where my brother Neal became my primary caregiver. I then moved to moved to Greensboro, NC to live with my father.
We had heard of a fitness and recovery center for the paralyzed outside of Charlotte, NC. After visiting we had no idea what we were in for. I currently participate in the Race To Walk program two days per week. I have improved my upper body strength and balance, and am now able to send signals to my core, glutes, and quads.
I can't say enough about the staff at Race To Walk. They all push me and expect me to do my best, every time. It is the highlight of my week, every week.
My ultimate goal is to walk, but currently I am striving to operate a manual wheelchair, do self transfers, and strengthen my connections and muscles. I plan on going back to school and look forward to becoming an employee and an independent citizen again. Some of my hobbies consist of sit down comedy, video editing, public speaking, reading, writing, studying, working out and dancing.
"Praise be to God. I am so thankful to be alive. I also want to thank my dad for taking care of me during this transition and driving me to Race to Walk twice a week. God bless Race to Walk."
Sponsor Leo: If you would like to support Leo in his quest, please go to the donation page to make a contribution. Make sure to include note with your donation "for Leo H".