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Glimmer of Gladness from Chris O'Brien

I am grateful to be alive. On July 27th, 2011 I became paralyzed from the neck down. While on vacation on Block Island, Rhode Island, I dove into the ocean, hitting a sandbar. Immediately I knew something was terribly wrong. I was floating in the water face down and had a numbing sensation throughout my body. My first instinct was to roll over, but I couldn’t. I opened my eyes and saw my arms; they were just floating there motionless. Being a competitive swimmer I was lucky enough to be able to hold my breath for a long time. Out of nowhere my friends and others who saw me floating from the beach flipped me onto my back. I was carried onto the beach and driven to a small hospital on the island. From there, I was airlifted to Rhode Island Hospital where I underwent surgery to repair the break in my neck.

I am grateful for my family and friends.

After getting to the hospital I began to learn about the severity of the accident. I had no motion in my arms or legs and could barely shrug my shoulders. I am not quite sure how to explain it but I had this feeling where I knew I would be okay and that this situation was something that I would overcome. Since the day of the accident I have been participating in intensive physical therapy all over the country in order to regain as much function as possible and to be able to go back to a normal life. While doing so, my family and friends have been there pushing and encouraging me every step of the way. Having a huge support team like this has kept me from ever doubting whether I would make it through all of this and I am very grateful for that. Of course not every day is easy and there is nothing wrong with that. Moving on can be tough but it’s a must. Staying in a depressing rut will do you no good. I believe that its okay to feel bad or sorry or just down about your own situation for five minutes a day, but any more than that is wasting your day. You shouldn’t ask “what if?” or “why me?”, but instead use your time to help somebody else or just spend your time by living in the moment.


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