Patrick   injured April 18th 1993

April 18th, 1993 started out to be a beautiful spring day. My girlfriend  and I had a funeral to attend and since it was so
nice out we decided to ride there on our motorcycles. We were not far from arriving  at our destination when an
uninsured driver ran a stop sign causing me to be catapulted under her vehicle and into another world where I have
lived ever since.

I was transported to intensive care and I learned that my neck was broken and  that I would never walk again.  I was
only 25 years old.  Even hearing such a harsh diagnosis didn’t prevent me from thinking that it couldn’t be true.  As
banged up as I was I believed that in time, with hard work and determination my body would heal and I would prove the
doctor wrong.  

I learned in rehab that the lucky ones who did recover from a spinal cord injury had what is known as an ‘incomplete’
injury (Mine is a complete injury). I spent 3 months in rehab and an additional 9 months in out patient treatment with
people who were more fortunate than I and those who made me look like the lucky one.  And what I mean by lucky is
that I did not need a ventilator to survive.

I am a Quadriplegic (my paralysis effects all four limbs). For those who don’t know what it means to be a quadriplegic,
let me take you through my typical day. I start my morning with a visit from a nurse who helps me with various medical
necessities. I don’t have full use of my hands therefore it is difficult for me to do the most basic functions and often
need help from others to do the simplest tasks like tying my own shoes or zipping up my jacket. I used to ride a
motorcycle, play guitar in a band with some friends but little things like these are what have made me realize the
independent life I once knew is now over.  

Not walking is the least of my worries. I suffer from many health issues like frequent bladder infections, Chronic
shoulder pain from a torn rotator cuff (caused by pushing my wheelchair).  My body temperature does not regulate
normally anymore because my thermostat has been permanently damaged which means I am very cold in the winter
and very hot in the summer and I suffer from
Autonomic Dysreflexia which causes my blood pressure spike on a
daily basis.

Despite all the challenges I have been faced with over the past 17 years I am extremely grateful for my friends and
family.  I know now that the doctor I spoke of earlier was correct in his diagnosis of me.  I live my life today hoping to
help others like myself live a better life and ultimately help researchers find a cure for spinal cord injuries.  That is why
my family has started the Lucky Laces Spinal Cord Injury Foundation.  

It gives me hope to believe that with our help one day spinal cord injuries will be a thing of the past.  It took me over 15
years to relive that fateful day and to be able to write about it.  I wish that those who read this will have a better
understanding of how paraplegics and quadriplegics live.

Lucky Laces invites you to share your stories with us.  Perhaps it will comfort you to know that you are not alone…and
that there are organizations like Lucky Laces which are dedicated to helping.  People believe that things happen for a
reason.  I guess someday I will find out why this happened to me but until then I keep fighting and keep the faith that
tomorrow will be a better day.      
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