We are honoured to be working with the Children's Wish Foundation to help make two very deserving families' "wishes" come true. Below is the story of an incredibly inspiring individual who has worked hard to keep up with his peers despite a debilitating neck injury. Continue reading for Pierce's story.
On April 14th, 2013 Pierce was involved in a snowboarding accident on Cypress Mountain that changed his life. He had just turned 15 one month prior. Pierce was very athletic, an extremely talented hockey player, an avid snowboarder and a skilled soccer player.
He was airlifted to BC Children's Hospital, where he was found to have a C5/6 neck fracture with retropulsion (displacement of bone fragments) into the spinal cord canal. Pierce's injury was classified as a C5 ASIS (American Spinal Injury Association) impairment, scale level A/B quadriplegia, meaning complete, or nearly complete lack of motor and sensory function below the level of injury. He spent one month in ICU at Children's Hospital, followed by 6 months at G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre.
While at G.F. Strong, Pierce used a power wheelchair as his primary source of mobility. He practiced using a manual wheelchair, and walking in physiotherapy with both a platform walker and gutter walker but at that point it was not functional for daily use. He made functional improvements in his upper extremities. But at the time of discharge he had decreased passive range of motion to both of his shoulder and active range of motion limited at his right and left shoulder, right wrist, and right fingers. Pierce's right hand and arm were significantly weaker than his left hand and arm, and as such fatigued quickly and it was felt that it was not functional for the majority of his daily activities such as writing and gripping and simply caring for himself. He also had spasticity present in his extremities.
Pierce refused to let this devastating injury dictate his goals. Three days after being discharged from G.F. Strong, on Nov. 13 2013, Pierce returned to school at W.J. Mouat Secondary School in Abbotsford, taking a full academic course load in the French immersion program. He used a manual wheelchair, which requires a certain level of mobility and strength. Pierce was determined to catch up with his peers. His accident happened at the start of his second semester in the 9th grade, and his classmates had moved on to grade 10. Pierce is right handed, but because of his injury he now uses his left, and when he gets tired, his right. Pierce has made up for all his lost time, he graduated with honors in June with his brother and sister (they are triplets). Not surprisingly, Pierce received the Tanya Colthorpe Memorial Award for Most Inspirational Student.
Pierce has been accepted at the University of the Fraser Valley for a Bachelor of Business Administration /Aviation degree, and will start his studies this September.
Pierce has wished for a swim spa, which would further his recovery and independence through therapy. Therapy has helped Pierce to increase his mobility. He has made an incredible recovery from a C5 ASIA A/B Quadriplegic to an ASIA D (meaning his strength has drastically increased below his neck injury).
Therapy has been instrumental in achieving independence in the activities of daily living, which are the simple tasks that many of us take for granted, like feeding and caring for ourselves. His hope is that a swim spa will allow him to do his therapy at home more frequently. Pierce currently drives with his family from Abbotsford to Richmond twice a week for therapy. If he was to have a swim spa at home, it would eliminate the long drive, and would allow him to do much more frequent physical therapy sessions.