Road To Recovery

857464_610949565597912_808670511_oHello, and thanks for looking further into my story…

These pages are designed to connect you, my friends and family to my fundraising campaign at “” as well as share my story and some videos and photos from my life before and after my spinal cord injury

As you read on the opening page, I was in a car accident on August 19, 2001 in which I lost a great friend and suffered a C5/C6 spinal cord injury that changed my life forever. I was 18 at the time and had just graduated from High School in Daytona Beach, Florida in May of that same year. When I was initially hurt I couldn’t move anything from my neck down. I can remember having to ask people to scratch my face for me if it itched. My first experience with therapy after the accident was relearning to swallow food without aspirating, in layman’s terms I to work on swallowing my food without it going down the wrong pipe. I stayed at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach until September 13th. Upon leaving I flew to Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Once there they wasted no time and put me into a power wheelchair and I began daily physical and occupational therapy. Each day I thought I was going to get better and everything would go back to normal, never realizing how long it would take for me to reach minor physical gains. The extent of my movement was the ability to somewhat move my right arm with no wrist or finger movement. One of the immediate goals was being able to feed myself by wearing a wrist brace that had a slot to hold a bent fork placed in it. At this point I needed 100% help with everything such as bathing, dressing, going to the restroom, shaving, and brushing my teeth.

I left the Shepherd Center in January of 2002 and I remember the flood of emotions as I “rolled” up to my house for the first time. I continued to return to Shepherd Center each Summer from 2002-2004. At the time those Summer visits were great and I thought it was what I needed to recover. After doing this for years I realized I needed something more. I can remember sitting reclined in my power chair watching TV and something just clicked and I thought to myself if I want to get better this is not the way to do it. I began searching the internet for aggressive therapy and I somehow stumbled across a place Project Walk in California. After seeing that this specialized therapy would cost $100 per hour my hopes were deflated, there was no way I could afford that or the airfare, rooming, and transportation costs. For weeks I watched videos of their current clients to see what kind of success they had experienced. I soon came to the conclusion that I would never know if it truly worked unless I just took a leap of faith and tried it for myself. The first matter of order was raising the money to make this trip across the country. I was literally at a complete loss as to how to do just that. One night at church I asked a friend if he could help. This later lead to a walk-a-thon held by my church and we did in fact raise the money needed plus some. I was so humbled and excited that this trip and experience was going to happen now.

It was the Summer of 2006 and the trip was finally about to happen. I had mixed emotions. In one hand I super high hopes and in the other hand I had a healthy dose of doubt. Upon arriving at Project Walk I was greeted by dozens of people out of their wheelchairs doing amazing things. One of the memories that stands out to me about that first visit is when they wanted to put me on a stationary bike. My first reaction to the idea was kind of angry because I knew couldn’t do it so I took offense to it and thought of course this isn’t going to work. However, this is what the program is all about, trying things even if you can’t do them in hopes that over time it will change….and things did change. I was in a power chair for 5 years and when I returned to Project Walk in 2007 I was using power assisted wheels on a manual chair.This was the trip where we attempted to walk with the assistance of a lift walker and 3 trainers. When I returned home I began to play wheelchair rugby in Jacksonville, Florida. As we continued with my therapy at home we began standing in the pool with 2 people helping. The following year we started standing out of the pool with 3 people…then 2 people. Then we progressed to using a lift walker with just 2 people and able to stand with the assistance of just 1 person. My most recent progress is my ability to walk using the Rifton Pacer without anyone helping me go.

Today, donations make it possible for me to make a trip out to California once a year for a month to receive great therapy at Project Walk, Strides or VIP. I also make the drive over to Project Walk-Orlando at least once a week and luckily have a friend that also helps me workout at my home twice a week.

When I suffered this injury I had no idea of the costs and the years of hard work that would be involved as I began my road to recovery. The specialized therapy I receive there costs over $100 per hour and I usually go 3-4 days a week for 3 hours at a time.This proves to be quite expensive because it is NOT covered by insurance and comes straight out of pocket or made possible by fundraising.

All donations are tax-deductible. Thanks to all of you who have helped in the past and continue to Help Robert Never Give Up.

If you have any questions about my injury, my recovery or anything else you can email me at:



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