Every high school has that guy everybody’s loves. You know, the guy who took the girl to prom when she didn’t have a date, the guy you can always count on, and Michael-Ryan Pattison (call him “MR” for short) was that guy. Sometimes the worst things can happen to some of the best people, but the amazing thing about MR is that he took a devastating spinal cord injury and turned it into one of the most selfless foundations around.
Why he’s fearless
It was a diving accident on summer break from Washington State University (on Lake Chetlan, Washington) that changed his life. MR dove into a shallow area of the water that had boulders underneath (there were no signs posted) and he hit his head breaking his neck, and the rest they say is history. But no, MR’s story doesn’t stop here.
Despite becoming a C4-5 quad (with no movement below the collarbones), which would make most people withdraw, MR refocused his life to help others. Only a year after his injury, he founded The Michael-Ryan Pattison Foundation, but it’s not about getting him walking again. No siree. It’s about helping others just like him get the equipment, care and the family and peer support they need. This, my friends, is exactly why MR is fearless.
His foundation’s ultimate goal is to build a state-of-the art specialized restorative therapy center for spinal cord injuries in Seattle, which will include aquatic therapy, palliative treatments, exercise techniques, a wellness center, sports arena, technology area, as well as a family resident and care center (with a social space) all for people with spinal cord injuries and their families. MR lives in Redmond, a suburb of Seattle, and there is yet to be a top level spinal cord injury therapy center in this area of the country.
To make the dream a reality, they’ve been slowly raising money by hosting two big annual events. They just concluded the 2nd annual James bond: A Cure Is Coming event, with more planned. When asked about the mission’s purpose MR says, “We’re just here to help people.” You can’t get more pure than that.
In a clip from an interview, MR won‘t lie, the road has been arduous, but he perseveres. “Had I known when I was lying there in the water how hard my future (physically) was going to be, I might have taken a breath of water,” he says, but he says it’s critical to continue doing something of purpose with your life, and although cheesy (yet profoundly true), rolling on no matter what.
The foundation is gearing up for their big fall event, Dinner and Auction, hosted by the Seattle Seahawks on October 6th, 2012. To keep apprised of their events, you can add The Michael-Ryan Pattison Foundation on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. MR has also created some powerful videos about his life and spinal cord injuries, which you can check out below.
Watch the videos: