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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:

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

Six Years and Hoping

Today marks six years since Spencer's paralyzing snow boarding accident. In commemoration, I am sharing a Fred Dickey story about Spencer that was published in the San Diego Union Tribune last week. I thought you would be interested in hearing Spencer's perspective on his accident and recovery. I hope you enjoy it. 


I was not present when Mr. Dickey interviewed Spencer. I was struck by how much Spencer talked about his inability to breathe instead of his inability to move. Clearly, suffocation trumps paralysis. Looking back revives painful memories of helplessness and heartache. It also highlights the spectacular wonder of how far we have come. Fortunately, many individuals and organizations generously changed the course of Spencer's life. Virtually every aspect of our lives is so much better now than we ever could have imagined back in that sterile hospital room when doctors told us that Spencer may need a ventilator for life and would likely not recover sensation or movement below the site of his injury. Now, thanks to the Swim With Mike scholarship fund for physically challenged athletes, Spencer is facing a bright future.  He is pictured here during the holidays between his mother and his brother and sister.

Spencer is presently a sophomore at the University of Southern California, a Trojan, and boy, does he Fight On! He is living on campus with no care giving services at all. He has a small studio and is able to prepare most of his meals for himself. He continues to use his wheelchair most of the time, but he can still stand and walk short distances. Spencer has been frustrated by an ankle injury that has not healed in the past eighteen months and it limits his mobility. He is now sporting an ankle brace to try to reduce the pain and discomfort so he can strengthen the ankle and walk more. Fortunately, he is able to continue rehabilitation in the campus gym with the aid of a spinal cord injury rehab specialist. Spencer attends the Viterbi School of Engineering where he made the Dean's List his first three semesters. He remains interested in chemical engineering and is hoping to work in materials science. Fingers crossed he can find a paid internship in the San Diego area this summer, so please contact him if you know of anything that might be appropriate. Last summer he worked in a laboratory growing carbon nanotubes. 

Six years from that awful morning on a sunny ski slope at Brighton our lives are fuller, easier and happier than we ever thought possible. But on February 1, I cannot help but remember the active, daring, basketball playing, bike riding boy that Spencer used to be before his accident. Six years have not dimmed my hope for cures and technological innovations during Spencer's lifetime that can deliver him from pain, increase his ease and mobility and provide a good right hand. Spencer has gotten much of his life back; I would like for him to have it all. I want him to ride a bicycle again. 

Cheers to hoping!

4 people hearted this


5 Comentarios

Mindy Poland
By Mindy Poland — last edited
So unbelievably proud of you Spencer - in every single way. Your mother must burst with pride at the young man you have become.
1 person hearted this
Bonnie Kane
By Bonnie Kane
Thank you for the update! Spencer continues to excel! Dean's List! (We know that's not easy). We read the article on the Union-Trib last week, and know it gives others hope. It is very important that Spencer's story is broadcast as much as possible. We continue in our prayers for Spencer for complete healing.
1 person hearted this
Katrina Goldsmith
By Katrina
What a touching post, and article. It is just amazing to remember those dark days in 2010 and see where Spencer is now. Not to minimize the daily work and challenges that go forward, but just WOW. It has been quite a journey.
1 person hearted this
Rick Hayden
By Rick H
Well, Spencer surely isn't letting the grass grow under his feet. He truly is an amazing kid and I agree..a bright future. We are all with you, hoping for that cure and appreciating every technological advance that adds to the quality of our lives. Rock on Spencer.
2 people hearted this
jackie appleton-deane
By Jacqueline
Celia, your account is heart breaking and healing wrapped in a package of hope and fight. I hope you all know how many people you have touched , with Spencers story and your family's journey. xxooxx
2 people hearted this