On January 6 , 2015 Stan Wright arrived at DIA for his 0545 shift as an air traffic controller. It was -15 degrees, but it had been 60 the day before, which resulted in some very icy conditions. He drove his 100-series Land Cruiser that day. When he jumped out in the dark, he slipped on the black ice so quickly that he never had the chance to brace himself. The back of his head slapped the steel slider (a running board built for offroad use) as he fell. That knocked him out cold. He landed in a sitting position with his back muscles totally limp from the head smack, causing serious damage to his back.
Since then, Stan hasn't been able to work his regular job. He's been on pain medication from constant back pain. Over time, his back got much worse. His neurosurgeon was concerned because the fall at work caused two severe herniations. The bad one was at the T7/8 level. That is the thoracic region on your back, basically nipple height. The severity of this was that normally, a disc would herniate off to the side. The disc herniated straight back and formed a kidney bean around his spinal cord. This made surgery extremely risky just based on the proximity to the spinal cord. One touch, even a breath or a breeze on the cord would paralyze Stan for life. His doctor wanted to try alternative methods to see if he could avoid surgery. For the next 5 months, Stan tried everything: PT, spinal injections, light exercise... everything. Finally, surgery was the last resort. Stan had to negotiate getting the surgery approved through federal insurance: another horror story.
Finally, on September 24, he went in for surgery. What his surgeon discovered was worse than expected. The result is that Stan is now at Craig Hospital learning to walk again. He has good control of his left leg, but his right leg has very little feeling in it.
The result on Stan's family this year has been tough financially. The purpose of this campaign is to provide some assistance to Stan and his family. Any amount that you contribute will be much appreciated.