Many years ago I first read the incredible story of W. Mitchell and was changed by it. “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it” was his message.
At age 28, Mitchell was traveling by motorbike along a stretch of highway when a vehicle unexpectedly stopped in front of him. He was unable to stop in time, and therefore had no choice but to lay his bike down in an attempt to avoid a potentially deadly collision. On impact the bike’s gas tank was ruptured. Mitchell remembered the burst of flames, but nothing more until he awakened in his hospital bed. He was burned over 65% of his body, his face was burned beyond recognition.
Though the initial prognosis was obviously grim, Mitchell endured. He survived a remarkable 16 skin grafts and 13 blood transfusions. Nearly faceless, and fully fingerless, he vowed not to allow this unfortunate accident to derail his life.
This was not however to be the ex-marine’s only brush with death. Now a trained and certified pilot, Mitchell embarked on a flight one cold and snowy day. There were four passengers aboard his plane. During his initial ascent the plane became unresponsive. Bound yet again on a collision course, this time with the rocky terrain surrounding the landing strip, he made the decision to set the plane down. In the ensuing crash, his four passengers walked away. Mitchell did not.
With crushed vertebrae and a spinal cord damaged beyond repair, he would never walk again. This badly burned man, fingerless and nearly faceless, was now confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.
“Before I was paralyzed there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are 9,000. I can either dwell […]