A Little Help From My Friends

26 Apr

Hello Friends and Family,

Well hot damn. Seventy degrees this past Sunday and Famous Dave’s barbeque for Easter, rock solid stuff.

I hope these words find you all well.  Spring has finally sprung and with it the bikers, outdoor seating, and 2:30 a.m. walks around the city have arrived. I have lived in my new apartment for about 6 weeks, but will truly take advantage of its location and awesomeness now that I can get outside to enjoy everything Minneapple has to offer.

I will update you with more in depth chronicles of my hand cycling and independent living in the coming weeks, but today I have to do what I hate the most-ask for help. You have all been more than humanly generous to me and my family and I don’t expect anything more than what I have received, but the realities of my life require at least an attempt. If you don’t want to be pandered to, stop reading here, and thank you for all you have done.  What follows is my request:

After suffering a high spinal cord injury from a diving accident in the summer of 2012, my life has changed. Well, I guess that statement is about as unsurprising as they come. The change in my life has been severe, challenging, and, to be quite honest, terrible.  I am not asking for pity though, just for you to clearly understand my situation.

Many of you participated in my fundraising event last year and, without the inspired kindness and generosity from hundreds of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The money you give me last year has funded my participation in the ABLE rehabilitation program. Through this program I have continued to regain function throughout my body, including my thighs and hip flexors, but most specifically in my core. Twelve months ago I was not able to sit up on my own; today I can sit up indefinitely which allows me to exercise, bathe, dress, (well half dress) independently. The importance of those things can’t be overstated.  Another area of my life dramatically improved through the generosity of others is the purchase of a wheelchair rugby chair for my participation with the Minnesota Steelheads. Lastly, your contributions helped defray the cost of my personal care attendants (PCAs), which is not covered by health insurance.  To all of those who helped make these things possible, thank you, thank you, thank you.

The central challenges I face are an inability to efficiently live my life. This obstacle is not a permanent one; every day I push myself to become more independent, and almost as important, becoming more independent in a timely manner. Taking three hours to dress myself in the morning becomes quite an impediment to working a normal job or maintaining a professional schedule. And that is exactly what I intend to do-regain a fully fruitful, fantastical future.

But I am not there yet, and that is why I need your help.

This year has been one of transition, moving from the comfort and ease of my parents’ house to my own apartment.  I’ve begun the search for work and am discovering inspiration in my new life.  During this time I still require a lot of assistance from my PCAs. Combined with the costs of medical supplies and continued ABLE rehab, my cost-of-living outpaces my financial means.  The generosity of those in my life has been a true window to the greatness of humanity, and I struggle asking for continued support. But, as I continue to learn in my new physical state, sometimes the only way to move forward is by being lifted up by those around you. (Wow, I need to get a trademark on that phrase).

So, in summing up of my previous words, any donation or support you provide me and my family is not only appreciated beyond any words I can write; it allows me to begin creating a new life for myself and support a continued, ferocious dedication to get me standing on my 2 feet and shaking your hand in thanks.

For your previous thoughts, prayers, jokes, help, everything, but especially for reading this letter; I thank you as deeply and completely as one person can through the written word.  I know I will walk again and I know I will repay all the kindness I have received back to others who need it.  As a first step in this intention we will donate a portion of the monies raised to the inspired and relentless charity Wings for Life – www.wingsforlife.com <http://www.wingsforlife.com>.  Their mission is to find a cure for spinal cord injury by funding innovative research projects throughout the world.  A cure to spinal cord injury-that is the greatest help, for those already hurt and those undeserving that will be hurt in the future.

Thomas Cloyd

One Response to “A Little Help From My Friends”

  1. Nancy Bowman April 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    T-Bone, you are forever our EPIC Bad@ss…we can’t attend this year, but will be sending a little somethin-somethin your way. Your determination is unmatched and we are so very proud to call you our nephew. Your eloquence is second to none, which prompts us to ask, when is your book coming out? We love you! From your Uncle Mark & Aunt Nancy Bowman
    P.S. Just in case the other nephews and nieces see this, we think they are also pretty cool, too…. :)) You know what, so are your parents and the extended whole famn damily!