“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” —Maria Robinson
Before April 25, 2014, I was beginning my career as a young prosecutor in Atlanta, Georgia. I can't imagine anything that could have prepared me for the day that changed everything for me. Suddenly, I was left severely injured from a violent assault that should have killed me. Less than 24 hours after serving divorce papers, my husband shot me three times - in the face, arm, and in the back, resulting in a spinal cord injury that paralyzed me from the chest down. He later took his own life. We were high school sweethearts and had been married for less than three years.
Following the shooting, I remember feeling disbelief and confusion the moment I was told I would never walk again. Surely the doctors mean this is temporary, I thought. I didn't accept it then and I don't accept it now. I spent three months in recovery and rehab in the hospital, but my road to recovery did not end there. I have had six surgeries in the three years since my injury and continue intense physical therapy. From that, I have gradually regained some strength and ability overtime. However, because of the nature of my paralysis, I still face significant difficulty performing basic every day tasks.
I miss so much about life before my spinal cord injury. What I miss the most is having my independence and standing on my own two feet. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like just to feel normal again. Sometimes it's a struggle to get up and move forward, but I'm determined to do just that regardless of the circumstances. My faith tells me that God didn't bring me this far to let me down and He has a plan for me. So in spite of the doctors’ prognosis, I believe anything is possible for me.
I need help to keep pushing to get back to what made me feel happy and fulfilled before my injury. I am raising money to help me for two specific things.
First, I need daily personal care assistance - a significant expense not covered by insurance. Even with all I can now do on my own, a caregiver is an absolutely necessary part of my daily life. Without help, I cannot continue to work or live independently - neither of which should be denied to someone with the will and desire simply because of a disability.
Second, I wholly embrace the philosophy that access to continuous physical therapy and home exercise best maximizes my chance for a healthy, strong life and ultimately gain greater mobility. I am very grateful to those who have helped me order a standing frame, a piece of critical specialized equipment with long term health benefits. Even more the simple act of physically standing up has an immense positive psychological impact for someone with paralysis such as me. Further, I am pursuing the opportunity to continue physical therapy in Shepherd Center's Beyond Therapy program. This is a rigorous, activity-based therapy program designed by Shepherd Center. This therapy can help me improve my strength and endurance giving me the best chance of a healthy body and independent life.
I am truly humbled and grateful for your assistance towards my goal. My goal is to raise $79,000 for personal care assistance and physical therapy. This amount will help me with the expense of a caregiver and physical therapy at Shepherd Center . This would meet my caregiver expenses past 2018 and access to Shepherd Center's Beyond Therapy program. Beyond Therapy costs $100 per hour and is not covered by insurance. I’m steadfastly faithful and determined to never give up on myself and my destiny!
Thank you to everyone and please share this story with others.
- Laverne Hedgepeth
- Tia Tyrrell
- CLARK SHARPE
- Craig Lesser