To be young again. Standing at the bottom of a fresh pile of gravel, small stones sliding as I dig my boot in deeper to make mound towers. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Breathing in the dust, the must, and embracing the challenge of a new day. I grew up in the hills of Anderson, South Carolina. I think I was born to play in the dirt. As a young boy I was obsessed with riding my dirt bike. The thrill and excitement of the ride was where I developed a pleasure for adrenaline!
I had a good childhood; however there were struggles along the way. At age 11, my parents divorced. My two siblings and I lived with my dad. He was busy with a demanding job. During this time I found myself searching for identify, purpose - just a young kid trying to navigate life. I enjoyed sports. I even church on Sundays. But as I grew older, my interest changed. Sports became less important and the social scene became a priority in my life. I enjoyed my friends. The laughs, the drinks, the comradery.
After high school, I enrolled in technical school and secured a job at Valvoline. I took great pride in working with my hands and on automobiles. My pursuit for the party life continued. On March 2, 2001, my life changed forever from bad decisions. After a night a drinking, I got behind the wheel of my car. Foolishly I thought I would be alright. At 2:00am, in the darkest of days, fate caught up with me. In a 25 mph speed zone, I saw a flash of blue lights. In a state of deep intoxication and out of sheer desperation I made yet another irrational decision. I attempted to flee and evade the police officer. At 120 mph, I lost control of the car. The car flipped and traveled forty feet until the devastating impact into an oak tree.
My next memory was when I woke from unconsciousness in ICU. I broke my neck and back and was diagnosed as a T4-T5 paraplegic. I was paralyzed from the waist down in the prime of my life because of a series of bad decisions. My life had changed forever.
My life was spared that dark morning. My life could have easily slipped away because of my choices. But I survived. Why? Perhaps, so I could share and prevent others from drinking and driving. Perhaps, I was spared because it took me losing my legs to discover true purpose in life. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. But every day I make the choice to lay down my past mistakes and use them as stepping stones.
I can confidently say that my injury has made me the man I am today. Will you follow me here as I share my journey? It is my greatest hope that my stories will encourage at least one that life is worth a fight. That when meet with adversity you must always find the will to push on.
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