Jeff Echevarria

On October 29th 2011, my life changed forever.

During a freak snowstorm my wife, Bonnie, and I were in a very serious car accident where we both nearly lost our lives. Bonnie suffered multiple bone fractures from her head to her toes. I, on the other hand, broke only one bone. Unfortunately, it was in my neck, leaving me paralyzed from the neck down. While Bonnie endured several painful surgeries and several plates and screws to put her on the road to recovery, I only had one surgery, (thank you Dr. Rabin for the beginning of my personal miracle).

What followed next was months of blood, sweat, and tears. Tears of fear, joy, and of course pain. However, it was the most wonderful pain I have ever felt in my life. What made our journey so much more endurable was an overwhelming outpouring of love and prayers from friends, family and complete strangers from around the country. I was blessed with many earthbound angels who work at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation and Maximum Solutions, without whom my rebirth would have never taken place.

The memory of me standing in rehab, my body shaking and twitching with my therapists holding me steady, trying to take my very first steps, and hearing them cheer as I shuffled forward is burned into my heart and my soul forever.

For those of you who know me, know that God blessed me with a talent and passion for art. With my focus on my body’s overall recovery, my art was a distant memory that I believed was lost on that cold night in October. Then I heard a whisper from God, then a gentle voice from Bonnie, then a loving shove from family and friends…So, flanked by my heavenly angels and a canopy of prayers, I picked up my pencil (well I dropped it a few times) and put it to paper. Yet, another miracle…I learned to see, to draw, and to feel, to appreciate anew. Everything about my life has gone through an amazing rebirth, all things made new. It is truly amazing and so very hard to explain.

There is so many to thank especially the man Jesus. I honestly will never be able to fully repay all those who have sacrificed for me and who have bent down both figuratively and literally to help pull me to my feet. All I can do is honor them by living true and standing strong and paying it forward.

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