Derek suffered a subluxation to his C4-C5 with a severe spinal cord injury. Derek is fully paralyzed from the chest down with little movement to his upper extremities categorizing him as a quadriplegic.
Derek was so passionate about his job, his family, and friends ! This picture really says a lot about him. The look on his face to be standing in a brand new kitchen at one of the largest malls in the country, it was a dream come true for him since we first opened the Mizner Park Yardhouse. Starting from the bottom he would let us know how excited he was to start his career as a Sous Chef and kitchen manager of the new Sawgrass Yard House location. Being a chef was Derek’s number one passion.
Imagine if you will being a parent wanting the best life possible for your children. You start off with endless diaper changes and feedings every 2 hours while crying because you haven’t slept in days but you know this is all worth it. Then you take your child to their first day of school and spend the day crying because time has gone by so fast. Then you spend years taking your kids to and from school, attend parent teacher conferences, take them to countless after school activities were you are their loudest and biggest cheerleader, attend winter concerts at their school while you video record them singing jingle bell rock laughing at the dance moves yet fighting back the tears because your baby is growing up so fast. You tuck them in bed every night and your heart melts when they kiss your cheek and hug you goodnight and you savor that moment because very soon they will think they are to big for that. You sit through endless homework sessions when you really haven’t a clue yourself what to do but you think one day I’ll miss these moments. The Birthday parties, fighting people in stores at Christmas time for a toy they will literally play with for 5 minutes then never seen again. The first boyfriends/ girlfriends, the first dates, the first heartbreakS. Then you find yourself prom dress/tuxedo shopping asking yourself “seriously where did the time go?” Next thing you know it high school graduation knowing it’s time to set your child free in this world. You sit back watching them begin to make their mark on the world with pride. Goals have been set the hard work begins. Your beaming with pride because that hard work is paying off and the goals are being met.
Now imagine if you will it’s the middle of the night and someone is knocking on your door. You ask who is it and from the other side of the door you hear POLICE DEPT. Immediately the color drains from your face, your heart is in panic, and the lump in your throat nearly suffocates you. You don’t want to open the door, you want to wake up from this bad dream before it really gets started. You face the reality as another knock is heard from the door and you open the door as your met with the question no parent ever wants to get “Are you the parent of............?” And suddenly you can’t stand or breath as every memory of your child flood through your head because you know what your about to hear isn’t good. You hear your child was in an accident and the injuries are so severe that their life will never be the same. Your 300 miles away from where your child is and you can’t seem to get to your child fast enough. You want to be strong for your child and not let them see you cry because they need every ounce of strength you have but your angry and very scared. Your faith is being tested because things like this shouldn’t happen especially to someone who has such a promising future.
You just never know what life will throw at you. You never think that when you wake up your life could be flipped upside down.
A lot of lessons can be had from this. Never walk away angry, pick up the phone when someone calls, never allow yourself to get to busy for the ones you love because you never know who’s knocking on the other side of your door.
Sometimes regrets can’t be fixed.
Please continue to pray for Derek, will him the strength to fight his biggest fight. Please consider donating to help with his medical expenses. Seriously no amount is to small as every bit helps.
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