When a Community Volunteer if Struck Down with Spinal Cord Injury, Good Hearted Neighbors Pitch In

Today’s Friday Good News comes to use from Atlanta’s Shepherd Spinal Center by way of Panama City, Florida. Due to the kindness of friends and strangers, Michael Harris of Panama City has been transferred to the Shepherd Spinal Center this week after his parents had all but given up on continuing his medical treatment. Michael, 30, had been helping a friend unload plywood for a handyman project when the plywood feel over, crushing two of Michael’s vertebrae. The spinal cord injury left Michael paralyzed from the waist down, but gradually regaining strength and movement in his upper body. But for awhile there, his parents feared that they would be unable to continue their son’s treatment.

Before the injury, Michael had spent his spare time volunteering with disabled children and armed services members. Now he needed help himself.

As we all know, many of us personally, economic times are tough right now. While Michael was working full time, his employer did not offer health insurance. The medical bills totaled in the hundreds of thousands, and Michael’s Medicaid was slated to run out. For Michael to get the best care, he needed a transfer to the Bay Medical Center’s spinal cord injury rehabilitation center, but the money just wasn’t there. Not knowing what to do, Michael’s parents began planning to remodel their home to accommodate Michael’s needs.

But after an article published in the Panama City News Herald brought Michael’s plight to the attention of friends and neighbors, all that changed.

Last Tuesday, Michael’s parents received a phone call from the office of Florida Governor Charlie Christ. This young man who had spent so much of his time volunteering to help others was to be admitted to Shepherd Spinal Center, one of the nation’s top spinal cord injury rehab centers.

While the Harris’ do not have all the details about how this turn of events fell into place, they do know that the News Herald article inspired Floridians from all over to call the state, pool their contacts and resources and lend a hand to a fellow good-hearted Floridian in need. One donor was Mark Weakley of Coconut’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Panama City Beach. Weakly called to find out what he and his business could do to help with Michael’s care.

“For someone that gave so much of their time helping others, how could you not want to help someone like that?” Weakley told the News Herald.

Weakly will be donating half his sales from today, Friday, August 21st, to the Michael Harris Benefit Account maintained by Peoples First Community Bank.

Spinal cord injuries are a very serious matter, and not everyone suffering from a spinal cord injury can count on such an outpouring of community support. At MLN Law, we’ve been successfully representing spinal cord injury victims for many years. If you have any questions, call 404-531-9700 to schedule your free consultation.