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Jerry

Jerry was partially paralyzed following an automobile accident. He uses a paramobile device to keep up his golf game.

(click here to view a text transcript of this video)

The day before my birthday in 99 I turned my truck over right underneath the prudential building. It was a big UPS sized truck – I worked for the Boston Gas Company. And I jumped from my truck when it was rolling, slid about 200 yards on my left side – there was a lot of damage on my left side. Fell into a pit that was uncovered. When I got in my accident, I became T6 paralyzed, which means from the chest down - I have no feeling from my chest down. I have feeling above, you know my shoulders – I try to keep everything in good shape. I can because I know I need my arms, my shoulders for the rest of my life (video switches to golf cart) – or until they come up with a cure.

(from golf clip - Its very important to keep yourself loose. You always get tight sitting in a chair. I am standing up – yup.) I’m in a machine that allows me to stand up. (from golf clip - Good day for golfing – good day for golf. It’s beautiful out today.) The human was designed to be standing. When I stand up, I breathe better, I talk better, my back pain goes away, uh my blood pressure’s circulating through my whole body. This machine enables me to – I can hit a golf ball, I can play catch with my kids. I can stand up and read a book, or watch a show – watch the Patriots! I can do anything, but I love to stand up as much I can, because I didn’t do it for the first seven years or so – I’d only do it once in a while…

People don’t really treat me different when I’m in this machine, but they go crazy on the golf course when they see me up playing – cause I don’t slow anyone down, I really have a lot of fun, and I’m very competitive. In order for me to drive or hit with any distance, I have to use one hand. If I get a really nice swing, I hit about 150 yards down the middle. And when it comes to chipping a put that’s when I can use the two hands. Disabled people want to have just as much fun, as much exercise as everyone else, so uh now a days, they’ve come out with a lot of technology and I’m really happy to be living in this day and age when they have these nice machines.

I bet people say some rude stuff, and be insensitive, just because they’re ignorant and don’t understand. You know I have a great quote that ‘he who you hate holds a piece of your soul.’ I don’t hate these people, I get angry with them, but they just gotta learn to adapt. They gotta realize what it takes for somebody to get into a building, or maybe we can’t carry that coffee – you might want to carry that coffee. Or you know, we may be a little bit slower in a certain line, but um that’s what I like to tell kids – just be as nice as you can to people with disabilities. All disabled people want to do is normal stuff. You know, just have fun and laugh. You know instead of saying ‘oh, what happened to you’, you know talk about what happened last week – and have a lot of laughs. That’s what I tell kids. Just because someone’s disabled, or handicapped, they want to do the same things that the kids want to do.

When I look at life, I see all kinds of opportunities and all kinds of challenges. I had some bad times, but those were the worst times. Now I see good times ahead.

(switch to golf clip) Hole in one!