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Spencer’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated on Spencer's progress as he recovers from a snowboarding accident that left him paralyzed at age thirteen.  Visit often to read the latest journal entries and write us a message in our guestbook.

Spencer had a serious snowboarding accident at Brighton, Utah on Monday, February 1, 2010. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury. He broke both his C4 and C5 vertebrae.  Spencer was airlifted off of the mountain to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the hospital, Spencer was intubated and put on a ventilator because he was unable to breathe on his own. Spencer could not feel the needles doctors poked him with to check for sensation. He was paralyzed and could move only his left forearm voluntarily. Doctors gave a grim prognosis; Spencer may never breathe on his own, and would likely never recover sensation or movement. 

Spencer was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident which likely saved him from brain injury or worse. The accident occurred on a bright sunny day on a "cat track" used between runs and not on a steep or difficult run. A trick of light concealed a bump and by the time Spencer saw the bump it was too late to stop and he caught an edge of the board and was catapulted head first into a rock-hard snowbank.  We have been overwhelmed at the generosity, love and support we have received from friends, family and strangers. 

Years later, Spencer is proving doctors wrong and making a stupendous recovery. He has sensation and movement in almost every part of his body, he can write with his left hand, push his own wheelchair, stand and take unassisted steps. He works harder than most athletes to recover what many people take for granted: mobility and independence. He is now going to college at USC on a Swim With Mike scholarship and studying chemical engineering, a dream come true. 

Spencer's progress is a direct result of the four physical therapy sessions and one hand therapy session per week he had for the first four years after the accident. At college, his therapy has been reduced to two long sessions per week. These therapies are vital for Spencer to make neurological connections and continued progress towards independent living.  

Expenses for rehabilitation, hand therapy, and medical equipment are not covered by insurance and exceed $20,000 a year.  Spencer raises funds from the community through HelpHOPELive, in part because HelpHOPELive provides both tax-deductibility and fiscal accountability to contributors. Contributors can be sure that funds contributed will be used only to pay or reimburse medically-related expenses. To make a contribution to Spencer's fundraising campaign:

Make checks payable to:
HelpHOPELive

Note in memo section:In Honor of Spencer Fox

Mail to:HelpHOPELiveTwo Radnor Corporate Center100 Matsonford Road, Suite 100Radnor, PA 19087

For secure credit card donations: Call 800-642-8399 or go to HelpHOPELive.org, enter Patient Name Spencer Fox, and click the "DONATE NOW" button.

For more information, please contact HelpHOPELive at 800-642-8399.

Thanks for your support!


Latest Journal Update

A Dream Come True

Thank you, thank you for helping make Spencer's skydiving dream a reality with your donations to the Reeve-Irvine Research Center for Spinal Cord Injury. Spencer and his longtime friends Jacob, Ty, Aaron and Robbie raised almost $2,000 for Research for Cure. Skydive Perris rewarded them each with a tandem skydive jump.

On Monday, December 29, we all drove out to Skydive Perris. The weather was beautiful and sunny. Skydive Perris is a huge facility that includes a wind tunnel, sky diving school and skydivers of all skill levels. Our "jumpers" were excited and nervous when we checked in, especially when they were required to listen to a video of a lawyer explaining how their signatures would waive all rights in the event of death or disability. Still, nobody hesitated when it came time to suit up.

Spencer was paired with skydive instructor Rob Wallace to help get his gear on and provide instruction for the jump. Skydive Perris handles hundreds of special needs jumpers and Rob has assisted many, many individuals with paralysis, weakness and other disabilities. Jacob, Ty, Aaron and Robbie were also each paired with an instructor and they donned their jumpsuits and harnesses. Then they all marched off to board Gypsy 5, the plane that carried them and several other jumpers to 13,000 feet. Spencer left his wheelchair on the runway. 

Spencer and Rob were the first skydivers to jump out of the plane. My only moment of anxiety was waiting for the parachute to open.  Spencer felt like the free fall portion lasted only a few seconds, but I thought it lasted three minutes. In truth, there was almost one minute of free fall before the parachute opened.  Rob then guided them in for a safe landing and Spencer's friends soon followed. Spencer said the noise and 120 mph speed of the free fall was incredible, followed by the relative tranquility and peaceful view after the parachute opened.

The day was full of adrenalin and excitement. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the DVDs of all of the jumps. I admit I was not thrilled about Spencer jumping out of an airplane, but the look on Spencer's face was priceless. He was so free, free falling through the air. SCI has taken so much away from Spencer, but he is unstoppable in seeking what he CAN do and pursuing it with gusto. It was an unforgettable experience. Spencer is also fortunate in his friendships; these young men have been friends since long before Spencer's injury. They have supported him throughout, working fundraisers, going surfing, and now jumping out of a plane. Bravo to Jacob, Ty, Aaron and Robbie--that's solidarity.

Happy New Year to all of you. May you fill your 2015 with family, friends, love, laughter and adventure.    
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Comments

1 Comment

Doan Hohmeyer
By Doan
Received the thank you card from Spencer and his friends in the mail a few days ago, loved the photos! Glad to hear all made it safely to the ground. Bravo to Team Fox! Tell Spencer next time I will join him, promise!
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