He moved to his adopted city of Columbus, Ohio, in 2014 not knowing a single person and now has more friends than you can count. So many people have said to me that Dennis is the glue that holds everyone together and can't wait for his triumphant return. His determination to improve is the same way he leads his life; never holding back and always working toward an end goal.
Dennis' stay in rehab is over and his out-of-pocket expenses for the next six months are detailed below. Please consider any donation toward our campaign of $100,000 to help him get what he needs to achieve his goals and share this with 5 or more people to help spread the word to get this young man back on his feet. With his past progress, current momentum and enduring spirit, Dennis is the guy who can conquer this challenge. Thank you in advance for your donation and sharing.
As Dennis said, "My recovery has been a long and winding road, and it has only just begun. And, I swear to you this…I have not yet won my last dance battle."
Please read below and watch the video link about his injury and the inspirational road to recovery.
$48,000 480 hours of therapy
$45,000 wheelchair accessible van
$12,000 improvements for accessible bathroom
$5,000 out-of-pocket medical expenses
Looking Back, Striding Forward
On July 28, on a fun family vacation in Cape May, New Jersey, Dennis was riding a wave into shore when the water’s force slammed him headfirst into the beach, rendering him motionless, facedown in the surf. Fortunately, his brother and the lifeguards quickly got him to dry land where EMTs drove him to a helicopter that flew him to a trauma center in Atlantic City.
At the hospital, amid a diagnosis and two subsequent surgeries for a fractured C5 vertebrae and
a severe spinal cord injury, Dennis set a goal of running a 5K before the end of the year. He then spent several days in the ICU before taking an air ambulance to Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, near his parents’ home in Dallas.
When Dennis arrived in rehab, though his body was almost immobile, his spirit was intact and equipped to meet the many challenges ahead. Deep pain and dizzying low blood pressure at first hindered physical and occupational therapies. But even lacking function in his hands and legs, Dennis learned to drive a power wheel chair and to power himself through the therapy sessions.
In time, Dennis strengthened his shoulders and biceps though his triceps still need to fire. New movement in his fingers allows him to use a cell phone with a stylus. Some of his toes are moving and Dennis started to kick his legs in aquatics therapy. In the gym, high-tech therapies with electrodes and a wearable robot have helped him to simulate cycling and walking experiences. Obviously, therapy has proven vital to Dennis' continued progress and recovery.
Yet as Dennis transitions from rehab to home, 15 hours of therapy a week dwindles to 60 therapy hours a year (or about an hour a week) being covered by insurance. Dennis believes that an aggressive therapy program provides the surest route to continued progress, increased independence and will bring him closer toward the goals to which his indomitable spirit propels him. So now, he needs some help with the costs and would be very grateful to all who can assist him in taking these strides toward living the fullest life possible.
- Susan Hageland
- Susan Hageland
- Susan Hageland
- Mary K Miles
- Keith & Liz Thomas
Organizer and beneficiary
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