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What a difference a year can make

Guest Blog by Becca Willis, wife of Mary Free Bed alumnus

On September 25, 2013, Adam Willis had a life-changing accident on a mountain bike trail. He went over his handlebars and hit the ground head first. His neck was snapped back and he sustained a spinal cord injury. Without his helmet, he would have probably had a brain injury as well. Immediately, he could not move from the neck down. He never lost consciousness and he laid face down in the dirt aware of everything while a friend called 911 for help and tried to direct EMT to the remote trails. He spent five days in the ICU and had surgery to fuse several of his vertebrae back together, but only more time would tell how much damage was done to his spinal cord.

Even within the first few days after his accident, he was showing good signs. He could will his toes to wiggle. He could move his shoulders. He could flex his leg muscles. It took nine days after his accident, but he began to be able to slightly move his fingers. Throughout the next seven weeks as he worked through his rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed, progress was made at a rate that surprised many.

He walked out of Mary Free Bed at his time of release. At his three-month appointment, his surgeon even asked him, “How does it feel to be a miracle?”

His body has not recovered fully to where it once was – and it likely never will. But he knows that he has been given an amazing opportunity to recover to the point that he has. His roles as a husband, father, and youth pastor have all returned to a new normalcy….which includes a new level of humility, gratefulness, and intentionality.

On September 25, 2014, Adam rode his mountain bike – on the same trail in which he had his accident. Nearly 50 people joined him in traveling the trail – friends, family, and even a few of his therapists from Mary Free Bed. It was a chance to celebrate the recovery and healing that had taken place, an opportunity to be grateful for being able to engage in activities that he loves, and most importantly, a time to join with others in recognition of God being involved in our lives.

Read more at the Willis’ family blog.

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