Battle Creek native Mitchell Chapman, 17, embraces life, be it good or bad. He’s experienced his share of both this year.
Mitch transferred to Mary Free Bed from Borgess this past fall after a severe car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. He had lost control of his car and ran into a tree, suffering numerous injuries on impact that were nearly fatal, including a ruptured aorta. Mitch’s injuries were serious enough that he was in an induced coma for three weeks before moving to Mary Free Bed.
During his rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed, he grew close to fellow patients and found friends in the hospital staff. Mitch recalls a nurse who, literally, made him smile when he was feeling low.
“Tahani just came up and pinched my cheeks one day and told me to ‘SMILE!’” Mitch explained. “After I got used to things, I wanted to stay here. There are really good people here. I love my therapists Allison Smith and Penny Richards. They really push me by setting high goals to challenge myself.”
Today, Mitch has regained some movement in his leg and is continuing physical and occupational therapy as an outpatient in Mary Free Bed’s Pediatric Transition Program. Although he’s still eagerly waiting to move into his accessible home, Mitch has plenty to look forward to this year. He plans on graduating from high school in February and is currently training to participate in the May 2011 hand cycling race for the Fifth Third River Bank Run.
Mitch also plans on continuing to record his rap music, a passion he’s maintained during his stay at Mary Free Bed. He and his cousin Kelly recently collaborated on a new song that Mitch wrote to reflect on life. The song embraces life and reflects Mitch’s resilience despite hardships he’s endured.
“We write about what life is all about,” Mitch said. “It’s not about riding in a Cadillac, money, or other things like that. Our music is about actual things that happen. My new song ‘Touch the Sky’ (Tripplebeam Studios) isn’t necessarily about recovering from the accident. It’s about not being alone in the world – life could be worse, it could be better. At least I’ve got my hands.”