Dan Edwards, a 27-year-old Sarnia man who has spent the last nine years as a paraplegic, recently spoke with Northern Collegiate students on how he has worked to overcome challenges related to his disability.
At 18, Edwards was a hard-working athlete, focused on improving his studies and skills.
He knew he wanted to play football, but he also enjoyed playing basketball (and for those who want to know, he’s rooting for the Raptors). Things were working out for him, until he was in an accident one night.
While fooling around with his buddy, Edwards landed on his neck, breaking it instantly. He was rushed to the hospital in Sarnia, but then later moved to London. He says the first thought that came to him, when the accident was that he could not feel his stomach, therefore he must be hungry.
Edwards’ friend, who was with him at the time, felt guilty about the accident, but Edwards says he reassured him that it was not his fault at all. They still remain buddies to this day andd Edwards had been asked to be a part of his friend’s wedding.
Edwards’ family has been very supportive since the accident happened. He has two sisters and two brothers, being a twin to one brother and the rest older. Although he says his family “drives him crazy each and every day,” he wouldn’t trade them for the world because he loves them no matter what.
Friends have also been a great help to him, being there for him, and supporting him and his family.
Together Edwards’ friends created Do It For Dan, raising over $180,000 for his family.
Now Edwards wants to return the act of kindness, raising that same amount as a donation to Bluewater Health.
It was on a trip to the hospital, Edwards said he made a new friend that had changed his perspective on the difficulties he faced.
The man, who was older, had only three teeth remaining, yet he was holding an apple in his hand. The man had also been in an accident, when he was driving down a country road and smelled something strange. Dan was also informed that the man did not receive many visitors, making Edwards appreciate for what he has.
Faith also plays a part in Dan’s new perspective. According to the dictionary, faith is the belief of something in which there is no proof. Dan believes that there needs to be action towards your belief. While in the hospital unable to feel anything from the neck down, he believed that he was going to be okay somehow, so he accepted what had happened.
With family, friends, and faith, Dan had received all the support he needed to help him get through this difficult time. One of Dan’s favourite quotes is by Martin Luther King Jr:
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”