John’s Story of Recovery
Six years ago, I was en route to a custom bike show with my girlfriend, Lisa, in Wilmington at 7:30 in the evening. I arrived at an intersection next to a gas station when a sixteen year old girl turned into me.
Instead of throwing me over the bike, Lisa was thrown thirty feet from the scene. Sadly, Lisa did not survive. The whole front of the bike snapped off and my face was crushed and I suffered extensive injuries.
I had three compound fractures in my skull, I had my left leg below the knee amputated and my femur was rebuilt. I had to have my eye sockets rebuilt, and suffered through sixteen surgeries and five months in the hospital.
I was put on suicide watch for almost two years and I felt like giving up for awhile. One day, with the support of my son and friends, I became determined to move on and I began to go out in public again. I am a Vietnam Veteran and the VA has been very good me and with the help of some talented mental health workers, I slowly became encouraged. I went to Augusta, Georgia to the Blind Rehabilitation Center and I learned that there were a lot of things I could do.
Now, I live independently. I keep a clean house and do not need any help with my daily chores. I can live an almost normal life.
I have set goals for myself. These are some of the goals I’ve met:
• I have been Kayaking and learned how to flip over. I use my aquatic leg for water sports.
• I have been basket water skiing
• I have been tandem skydiving in Atlanta with a friend
• I have been on a horseback riding expedition
• I am the first licensed blind auctioneer in North Carolina
My next goal is to go water skiing on regular skis and go para-sailing.