By Dave Denniston
CARLSBAD, California, February 6. TODAY is the day! One year ago today, in a single moment, my life changed forever. There have been several times that I’ve thought about the actions that took place when I hit that tree and relived the moments in my mind thereafter. Every time I remember how scared I was about what was going to happen to me and if I might actually be dying, my body shivers and I still get goose bumps. I am still amazed at how composed my friend Andy Miller stayed through the whole ordeal to get me off of that mountain without doing any more damage to my body or my spine.
What I think about more often than the accident are the people who have supported me over the last year. WOW! I refuse to delete the thousands of e-mails I got shortly after my accident, and from time to time I go back and read them. Every card I received is saved in a box, and a few select ones are still out because they make me laugh. Life’s obstacles are so much easier to get through with friends by your side.
Attitude is everything, or so I’ve been told, but when you aren’t allowed the chance to have a bad attitude, you soon realize that the people around you are everything. I know there is a tendency to forget about tragedies that other people experience, but in one year’s time I don’t feel like anyone has forgotten about me. I would have to guess that I have more fans now than I ever did while I was competing.
There is so much I’ve learned about myself this year that I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. I’m honestly reporting that the last year has been the best year of my life. My character has been tested, my body has been tested, and my spirit has been tested. I’m a much better person now because of my paralysis.
So today, I’m celebrating the day that changed my attitude and day-to-day life forever … for the better. I’m going to go to Project Walk, as is normally scheduled, and I’m going to attempt to take over a hundred steps. My current record is 76. Afterward, I’m going to go to the beach and spend the rest of the day outside and as far away from any hospital as I can get. I’m celebrating being alive, but mostly I’m celebrating really living.
I will post the results of my steps on my journal this evening at www.davedenniston.com.
For those of you interested in my progress to date, the fine people at Project Walk put this video clip together for me: Dave Walking . It shows me walking!