Once in a lifetime opportunity

Dear friends and family...

As most of you know, I am married to Superman. Eric has been an amputee for nearly 19 years due to an accident where he placed his own safety at risk to save two young girls and a baby. In the process, he was hit by a semi and lost his right leg below the knee.

As a 27 year old man, Eric determined not to let his disability dictate his happiness. He refused to let this accident destroy our future. Eric has always worked hard physically, despite his pain and discomfort. He has endured many surgeries for bone spurs, abscess, revision of his amputation and even a couple of surgeries not related to his leg. He worked hard to excel in his career and made it possible for me to stay at home with our kids during their young years.

A few years ago, Eric's company made major cutbacks and he lost his job. We were devastated. He had been with this company since he was 21 and not only lost his job, but also his colleges and friends who he was so close with. After quite some time, it became evident that he would not be able to find the type of employment he was capable of because he didn't have a degree. So as a 45 year old father of 3 teenage girls, he embarked on the arduous task of earning a college degree.

We decided that to do this, we would sell our house and move someplace more affordable. Two years ago we moved our family from a suburb of Chicago to a small town in northern Utah to attend a nearby university.

About 1.5 years into this major endeavor, Eric was shoveling snow and slipped, shattering his femur into 18 pieces above his prosthetic. He underwent major surgery to put a long plate and screws in his femur. After an event such as this, most people would withdraw from school for awhile. Not Eric. He was back in class 3 weeks later using a power wheelchair to maneuver between classes in the snow.

This past year has been really tough for Eric both physically and mentally. Recovery was slow at the beginning. He has also maintained a heavy work-load at school. Our neighbors have been wonderful to help in any way we have needed. Our kids have been amazing helpers, doing many of the physical chores Eric cannot do and being his right hand man when he could use assistance. Eric is a doer and to let others do things for him is very humbling.

Last week Eric was chosen to be one of 14 students from the John M. Huntsman School of Business to take part in a travel abroad program next summer. They go to Asia for 3 weeks; Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and various places in China. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The only problem is that this it is not in our budget. While he can apply for a scholarship to cover part of the cost, it is still way out of our budget to send him on this trip. We have a daughter in college and two close behind, weddings to save for and cars nearly as old as our children.

So here's where you come in... I know there are many people who have been inspired by my sweet husband. He has a heart of gold and to know him is to love him. Despite his limitations, he has always been one to step in to help with moves, service projects, etc. With your help, I would love to give him this opportunity of a lifetime. It's a huge honor to be asked to go on this trip, especially for a "seasoned" student who will be the first in his family to earn a bachelor's degree. I would love to make this dream a reality for a man who has been dealt some serious blows in his life and keeps on going with a good attitude despite his limitations.

Thanks for your love and support!
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Marsha Burton Joss 
Hyde Park, UT
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