My name is Tyler Wesley, I am 22 years old, and I’m from Denver Colorado and grew up to be a pretty active and outgoing young boy. Growing up I was a big soccer player and dedicated everything I had to that sport because I loved it that much. Making the varsity soccer team as a freshman for my high school was such a huge accomplishment for myself and my future. I always wanted and knew that I would become a professional soccer player ever since I was 4 years old. But unfortunately, the unexpected happened, at 15 years old I was involved in a rollover car accident the end of my sophomore year in high school that left me with a broken neck and breaking my C-4 vertebrae resulting with me being paralyzed from the shoulders down. Also known as a central spinal cord injury or a quadriplegic. My life would forever change in just a matter of seconds. I was then emitted to Denver Health. I was on a ventilator, g-tube, neck collar, and a halo to stabilize my neck in place. The Doctors told me and my family that I would never walk, talk, move my arms, or even breathe on my own again. But I didn’t listen to them because I knew that I was going to one day. I was then transported to Craig Hospital and was an inpatient there for 4 months.
It’s been 6 years since I was involved in the car accident and I’ve just been working hard every single day and still am to become stronger and stronger physically and mentally. So now I’m able to walk a little with a walker and now I’m working on my arms to get stronger. An achievement of mine that I have succeeded on doing these past years is going from a sip and puff wheelchair, to a foot drive wheelchair, to a hand control joystick wheelchair, to a two-wheel walker, and finally to a four-wheel walker which took me many years to do. Also, I was able to get off from the ventilator, my neck collar, my g-tube, and my halo. My next goal is to be able to walk with a cane or even by myself with nothing one day! These past years I stayed motivated and kept pushing myself in therapy and in school. Graduating on time in high school with my classmates in 2014 was such a huge accomplishment for me because I had no idea that I even wanted to go back to school in the beginning. I thought that all my friends and other students would look at me differently or make fun of me because I would be going back in a power wheelchair. It was the exact opposite though, everybody in the school showed me so much love and they were so caring and kind to me. Back then, everybody at my high school knew me as an athlete and the kid who is really good at soccer and always got along with other people. I’m so glad that my caring and loving mom pushed me to go back to school to finish the other half of my junior year and my senior year. I had a goal to not only finish high school and graduate with my classmates on time but also to work hard in my therapies so I would be able to walk with a walker to receive my diploma. In 2014, I am proud to say that I did reach those goals which took a lot of hard work for me physically and mentally. I also graduated from Front Range Community College in 2018 where I received my associate’s degree which was another huge accomplishment for me and my future! My next achievements and goals I am still working on today are to feed myself, do my hair, blowing my nose, brushing my teeth, or simply just scratching my face. I know that I will succeed in those goals one day!
This grant would mean so much to me and my family! With my mom raising myself and my sister by herself while working three jobs and taking care of me, this will take an incredible amount of stress off of her financially. I would love to continue to work out and do intensive therapy for as long as I can because I am still young, healthy, I am a hard & dedicated worker, and I still have goals and great potential on regaining even more movement back because I still have nerves firing in my muscles.
But unfortunately, I haven’t been doing any intensive therapies in over a year other than my own exercises at home because of funding. If I receive a grant, this will help me and my mom so much and I could hopefully get some sessions in to improve even more and help reduce my constant pain that I have in my shoulders and lower back from not being as active like I was years ago!