Something Good is happening in Arlington, where a man is getting a chance of his lifetime – all thanks to his determination and a little help from his community.
More than 20 years ago, Rick Snyder was paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident.
“When I had the accident, it took me a while to even want to get back into a car,” he said. “My car flipped, it was not pretty. But for whatever reason, God kept me here.”
He sustained a C6 and C7 spinal cord injury, which took away the use of his legs and greatly affected mobility in his hands and arms. Since then, extensive rehab has helped him adapt to life in a wheelchair.
But it hasn't been easy.
He struggled to continue working. At one point, he commuted a total of 10 miles by wheelchair between two jobs, because he couldn't afford a modified vehicle.
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Now, he relies on just $500 per month in Social Security disability. He also needs physical assistance from caregivers and loved ones.
However, he still strives to work again and be independent.
“It’s just a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “For somebody that’s not had that for a while, it’s been 20 years. That’s like a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.”
The nonprofit Help Hope Live is helping Snyder host a fundraiser this weekend to raise money for a wheelchair-accessible van with modifications for him to drive on his own.
“I’ll be able to roll my chair right up into the back of the van and then I can transfer to the driver seat, which swivels back,” he said. “That means no more sitting in the rain. And it will take a lot of pressure off of my caregiver on her shoulders.”
Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit medical fundraising platform that helps patients like Snyder start secure and medically verified fundraising campaigns backed by one-on-one fundraising help. The organization specializes in engaging communities in secure, tax-deductible fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness.
Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $150 million to pay patient expenses.
Snyder said he's not letting his disability define the rest of his life.
"I just want to say to the people who have spinal cord injuries or any type of disability – your life is not over just because it happened to you. Whatever happened to you, yes, it bites. But your life's not over,” he said. "As long as you keep pushing, you will get where you need to be and want."
The Wheels for Rick fundraiser is this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Elm Grove Pavilion at River Legacy Park in Arlington.
There will be live music, raffle prizes, food trucks and special guest speakers of local city leaders.
Snyder hopes his event can help raise awareness for the struggles people with disabilities can face.
“If I could change one thing, it would be awareness of disabilities like mine in our society,” he said. “This kind of accident can happen to anyone, and there is such a strong need to help people get back to being productive members of society.”
If you can't make it to the event, online donations are also being accepted by clicking here.