Jim is an upstanding citizen – a husband, father, fulltime ironworker, owner of his own company, and volunteer firefighter.
He never thought his life would change. But in an instant it did.
February 24, 2009, Jim was working as an ironworker when he was tragically crushed against the roof of a building. His back was fractured and he was diagnosed with an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). He was told he would never walk again. His life had changed forever.
It would have been so easy – even understandable – for Jim to give up. But this is not a man that ever gives up...
… If anything he pushes harder. As he says, “This is it, let’s deal with it. It is an adventure and I just have to learn to do things differently.”
So, this is Jim’s new adventure. His mission in life is to walk again to the best of his ability.
I believe Jim will succeed in his new mission. You see, Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario (CPA Ontario) will be with Jim and his family, every step of the way.
Jim first discovered CPA Ontario immediately after his surgery when he was linked to Rob. Rob is a CPA Ontario Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Pilot – SCI Pilot is an innovative partnership between CPA Ontario and Hamilton Health Sciences. The purpose of which is to have earlier contact with people who have a SCI, providing them with services, resources and peer support. The goal is to assist them on their journey to recovery and to community reintegration.
We have been there with Jim and his family helping them develop a positive attitude towards recovery and to ensure they have access to the best services when they need it and where they need it.
“At first, you are so shocked and when the doctors tell you that you will never walk again, you wonder where the hope is,” Jim recalls. “Being connected to CPA Ontario and everyone there who believes in life after SCI – that was where the hope began.”
“Our kids are having a difficult time understanding my injury,” said Jim. My son, is only five, and doesn’t understand why we can’t go for a bike ride together, or why I can’t chase him around in the backyard. So, family support has been offered to us and will help all of us adjust better.”
Through CPA Ontario family support, Jim’s wife Lia has been linked to another wife whose husband sustained a spinal cord injury. This has helped Lia to adjust to the changes in her life as well.
Just 8 months after this tragic injury, Jim is now walking with canes. This is one of the three goals Jim set out after his injury. Isn’t it amazing that he has achieved this goal! Jim’s goals are his mission and his mission is wrapped in a huge bow of HOPE. And, building on that hope, just last month, Jim played 18 holes of golf in his local Firefighters Annual Golf Tournament.
“It is HOPE that CPA Ontario has given my family and I,” says Jim. Everyone at CPA Ontario is committed and dedicated to making those with spinal cord injuries lives, better. Through their dedication they make you realize it!”
This Christmas will be the first Christmas since the injury, for Jim and his family. But I know they will be OK, because they will be surrounded by their circle of family and their friends at CPA Ontario.
At CPA Ontario, our job is to do whatever it takes to help each individual rebuild their life with dignity, passion, meaning and hope.
P.S. Right now there are over 12,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in Ontario. And, the number of people living with a spinal cord injury and paralysis is growing.
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It is estimated that the annual economic burden of traumatic SCI in Canada is approximately $3.6 billion, of which $1.8 billion is associated with direct health care costs. (Urban Futures Institute Report)
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