In May 1994 I "woke up" in ICU 4 days after I had been taken to the hospital after crashing my car into a culvert, flipping and landing upright in a ditch with a T-4 spinal cord injury and two punctured lungs.
I have since learned to appreciate the little things in life that truly matter and with that in mind I have embraced the life lessons that adversity has a way of introducing when we least expect it... NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOURSELF! You will never know what you are capable of until live throws you a curve and the choices you are given are to either deal with it, see it as a challenge and opportunity to learn and grow, or you can throw a pity party, give up, blame.
POWER, Inc. was born in 1997 with 3 wheelers, including myself, that just simply had an idea that it would be cool to have a group with similar circumstances get together once a month to "shoot the bull", maybe go out to eat or go bowling...just getting out and living rather than just existing. Once doors started opening our little "support group" took on a life of its own and has become, with a lot of work, the not-for-profit networking organization that is touching lives, including our own, by just simply having a vision and sticking to it.
Always remember there is somebody out there that has it much, much worse than you. Count your blessings, smile alot even if you're having a crummy day and don't waste your energy on things you cannot change and instead use that energy to change the things you can.
I would like to start with a little history on my "walk" in this life. I was injured as a passenger in a auto accident in 1996 in which I sustained a "complete" spinal cord injury at the T-12 level and resulted in paraplegia from my waist down. It stands to good reason that in the beginning it is so hard to imagine going through life in a wheelchair. All could focus on was what I would no longer be able to do....I can't drive, swim, have kids. I thought that I would be dependent on other people for the rest of my life. But thankfully God sent me an angel to show me the way.
My angel was Judie Korbelik. And although I met her in 1996, I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was sitting outside when she pulled up. She took her wheelchair out of her car and put it all together with out any help. That was the beginning of the many things she would teach me along the way. That day was the first time I had hope that I could be independent, and believe me when I say once you get the taste of independence you can't get enough of it. Sometimes we all need help to get the ball rolling. Needless to say, I no longer focus on all the stuff I'm simply not able to do. Instead I am grateful for the abilities I still have. Most importantly, I choose not to waste them. Things could always be a lot worse.
When we came up with the idea of starting a group I knew what an impact we could have on the wheelchair community. I knew that if we were able to help just one person our efforts would be worth it. POWER helps in many ways by giving wheelchairs and other medical supplies to people in need, giving guidance, friendship and hope. But if I had to pick just one thing, my vision for the group can be wrapped up in a few words...touching souls. I hope that we touch the souls of many and that others touch our souls as well. It's amazing how being around other people that are in the same shoes that you are in can impact you. I am living and breathing proof.
So if you find yourself reading this, come join us. We would love to have you, and may God bless you in as many ways as He has blessed us.