Sharing the story of an inspiring friend

I want to take a moment and give a shout out to a recent friend and his outstanding achievements after suffering a Spinal Cord Injury of his own. I was introduced to Grant Korgan just weeks after my accident while I was still in rehab at the hospital and I remember talking to him and instantly feeling better knowing that someone else out there could possibly understand what I was going through. “You have a new best friend bro, feel free to call me anytime you want” is what he told me. Grant suffered his accident almost three years ago and was given the same uninspiring prognoses from his doctors about his chances of recovery.

Despite the challenges he faced, he worked his way out of his wheelchair, became much stronger, started walking with canes, and became the first adaptive athlete to hand-ski to the South Pole in Antarctica. This effort was chronicled by a documentary film crew and Grant has also written an inspiring book about the first year of his life after his accident entitled, “Two Feet Back.” I read his book and highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning of a person who has approached his recovery with unwavering optimism and positivity.

I want to dedicate this post to sharing Grant’s talk at a recent TEDx event. Check out his video and if you only have a few minutes, feel free to skip to 16:08 and watch and listen to the song about his story and recovery. I am continuously inspired by him and discover so many similarities to my own recovery. Madluv to you Grant

TEDx Grant Korgan: The Goosebumps of Life

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23 thoughts on “Sharing the story of an inspiring friend

  1. Incredible man ~ incredible perspective and inspiration. The song was just beautiful — brought tears here … thank you for sharing this Arash! Sending Love your way ~ RL

  2. Apparently there was a problem with the email,. So here is my message. Vince.
    Arash, I have followed your blog for about a month now. From the moment I first read it I have wanted to respond with some words of my experiences working with folks with SCI. I retired many years ago from a business, not even close to this field. I returned to educating myself through schooling and volunteering in the field of working with folks with disabilities. I specialize in Stroke Recovery now, but have worked with a few people with SCI. Believing you will get better is a major step in achieving the results you want. Doubting even for a moment can work against the progress. Without going into details about taking your first steps. Here is what has worked for the folks I have helped walk again. The thing you have to do every day is put your feet on the ground. “No weight”. Just sit in your short chair. Put your feet on the floor. Bare feet (optional). Lift one leg 1 or 2 inches with your hands then let it drop to the floor. Lift the other leg and let it drop to the floor. Do this many many times a day. Get back to me in a week. Tell me what is happening. Vince.

    1. Hi Vince,

      Thank you for your suggestion and advice. I actually didn’t find your email so I’m glad you wrote. I will certainly try that tactic and see where it goes but I like the idea behind it. My feet touching the ground has to have a positive impact on my recovery. Best to you. -AB

      1. Hello again Arash. I am anxious to hear what you have noticed after a few weeks of letting your feet touch the ground by lifting them and letting them drop to the floor on their own. It is important that you do the lifting yourself. Also that you lift your left leg with your right hand and your right leg with your left hand. The physical connection has to be made between your brain(not just your mind) and your feet. It will help if you have a strap around you upper leg just above the knee, Then you can grip the strap easily.
        I haven’t noticed if your are in the swimming pool everyday. This is a must.
        I haven’t noticed the size of the bed you are in. You should be in a low 15 inch high king size bed. no barriers. The bed should be controllable so that you can raise and lower the head, middle and foot If you need to get up. Do it yourself. You also need to have someone in bed with you every night.

      2. Hi Vince, I’ve definitely been doing the leg exercise regularly as you suggested, with opposite hands and legs. I think it’s helped to increase my sensation a bit but it’s honestly hard to tell at this point. Living this reality everyday it’s a bit tough to track small improvements on a daily level but I’m going to keep at it since I like how it feels and sends a signal all the way up my leg from my foot. I’ve wanted to do water therapy in the pool but my insurance won’t pay for it and I’m battling about this with them. It’s certainly on the top of my list as I’ve heard many benefits of working in the water. Thanks for checking in and I’ll keep you posted as there are more developments! -AB

      3. Terrific on feeling the signals. Start lifting your feet a little higher now. Say 3 to 4 inches. You should notice another change within a week or two. Your insurance company must want pay for therapy over a long period, rather than getting you on the road in a short time. Ask the agent/broker him/her what works better for the company, the short haul or spreading it out over a long term. It makes a difference in their bottom line. Just a note about your broker. The way you communicate with your broker has a tremendous effect on what you can get from the company. You cannot be too nice to the broker/agent. Continuously thank, support, his/her efforts. The agent deals with a lot of unhappy people. When the pleasant client calls with a friendly and positive attitude you know who will get the best service. STANDING BY. Vince

      4. Hi Vince, I’m keeping at the leg exercises. As for the insurance, I wish it was as simple as a matter of a broker. It’s much more complicated than that and sadly I’m dealing with it everyday. They really have no plan to cover me for anything or do anything more for me now, just the minimum. Sad reality of our healthcare system… I’ll keep you posted on the rest. Thanks for the help -AB

      5. Arash. I sympathize about your insurance company issues, but a “war” with them is not a war you want to be in. I am looking forward to the “foot to floor” responses that will show soon. Vince.

  3. Love that you shared your story!!! My dad suffered a brainstem stroke when I was eight years old he never moved or talked again but he fought for two years and two months I remember how hard he tried to smile at me and I was so glad he wasn’t giving up! Life isn’t always so kind in what it deals us but seeing strength and will at its utmost is both relieving and inspiring!!

    1. Thank you for sharing the story of your father. That must have been so challenging for him and I commend him on his persistence to smile at you. It certainly is a challenge to face a setback like this in life and try to tell it that you will kick its ass but that’s what I’m trying to do. Thanks for reading Kristy. -AB

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