Guillermo De La Rosa - Board Member

My life before the accident was very nice, cheerful; I was a worker with many aspirations. Always thinking of my family, I went out to have fun, I loved playing with my nephews and I really enjoyed playing soccer. I missed the opportunity to play soccer in my countries second division soccer team, I was young and I preferred to work. When you come to this country, United States, you feel the master of the world, which leads us to do things we should not be doing. Sometimes we believe that the life we have is the best, not knowing what God has destined for us.

Until the day I had the tragic accident. I had a friend who was a mechanic who asked me to help him remove the engine from the truck. When there were about three or four screws left he told me to lock the rear wheels, but then my phone rang and I stayed talking on the phone for 15 to 20 min. My friend asked me you want to get underneath the car or you want me to get underneath? I told him I would get underneath, but forgot I had not safely secured and locked the tires. When I took off the transmission it fell directly on my neck breaking my column. I felt as if I was floating in the air and after I could not move nor feel my body. My friends took me out from underneath the car, which affected me more negatively. At the hospital I was diagnosed (C4-C5 quadriplegia) and told that I would never be able to walk.  It was very shocking news, hard to accept and overcome. I was in hospital for three months with many complications, one of which was that food was going to my lungs and they had to put oxygen tube down my throat for three months beyond the pain and infection. My life changed in an instant, I went from being an independent person, to now that I have to depend on someone for everything. Even after my accident, I did not give up and with the help of God and my family I could cope. Now I can move my wheelchair to use the computer and some other things.

The advice I would give to persons who have just had an accident like mine is that life does not end, that we must move forward, because only God knows what destiny will have in store for each on of us who are in a wheelchair or in bed. We are not less than anyone else and even though sometimes our faith is not so strong we need to let God decide and ask him to give strength both to our family and to us. Look for something that distracts you: reading, music, etc. When you feel depress or sad, pray or find someone to talk to.

What I would say to people that look at us differently and stare at me, is that I am a person just like them and even though the accident could happen to anyone and just because I am in a wheelchair does not mean I am different from them.

I now belong to Living Hope Wheelchair Association (Living Hope) and for me it is like a family because before we see each other as an organization we must see ourselves as brothers, be united and try to overcome all the problems that arise. Personally, I feel great being part of the organization and although sometimes I come to the events with pain or problems once I arrive to the organization I feel better.

Well I leave you wishing that my story can serve someone else to value their lives and everything they have and May God Bless You.