Someone goes through a horrible car crash- totaling his car and his body too. Jon Morrow broke his legs in 14 places and lay in bed for 3 months straight unable to do much. But he was able to think and that’s exactly what he did during that spring in 2006. He thought about life and how to deal with his pain as best as he could. The result was that he turned his life around and within a few years became a millionaire.
How does a crash victim get on with his life and inability to move? Morrow was able to answer that because as a baby he contracted a disease that was supposed to kill him as a baby. Doctors said he wouldn’t survive age 2.
His disease involved severe muscle atrophy which went undiagnosed for a year. Mrs. Pat Morrow saw her son Jon wasn’t crawling properly rather he was dragging his legs behind him. She was uncomfortable with the way he moved so she went to the doctor in spite of all her friends and family who told her there was nothing to worry about. The doctor said: “I have bad news for you; Jon has a debilitating disease that atrophies the spinal cord and muscles. Most children his age get stronger and stronger as they get older and he will get weaker and weaker. He will lose his mobility and his breathing will become labored and get pneumonia constantly until he dies from it. Most of these children die before age 2… I’m truly sorry.”
Pat wiped her tears away and squared her shoulders with determination and said: “Don’t be sorry, Jon is not going to die.”
The doctor, sure he was dealing with classical denial said: “It’s important you understand Mrs. Morrow, he can’t fight pneumonia.”
“He won’t fight it; I’ll fight it for him,” Pat said.
And that’s exactly what she did. Every time Jon had a bout of pneumonia and it happened 16 times in 16 years straight her fierce determination saved Jon’s life. She would sit next to him every night and bang on his back and his chest every 2 hours to dislodge the mucous that threatened to choke Jon to death. She managed to find the best doctors to treat Jon and she never gave up.
But Pat wanted more than survival for Jon she wanted him to thrive and live a normal life as possible. She was adamant that he attend a regular school and every obstacle melted when up against her determination. When Jon wanted to play basketball she spoke to the physical education teacher and they agreed to create a new job for Jon: ‘the ball holder’ which he could do from his wheelchair. When Jon could no longer write Pat made sure that volunteer students would come and write for him daily. Most of all; Pat never stopped encouraging Jon and believing in his abilities. All this effort yielded amazing results; Jon graduated High Scholl with honors at age 16 and got a bachelor degree with honors after that.
With such a strong upbringing and the amazing moral support he had a car crash wasn’t about to do him in. Not only that, it actually spurred him on to live the life he wanted to live. He was disgusted with living in the US on handicap disability stipend where every dollar would be spent on lifesaving medicines and therapies. Within a week he packed his bags and went off to Mexico to a beautiful town recommended by one of his friends who described its wonders to him. He found a home he liked and rented it and then he tackled his next challenge: to earn enough to support himself and all his medical expenses, and (this is a big ‘and’)–to support his aging parents.
By this time Jon could only move his head but assisted by up to date technology, he was able to do what he chose as his new career; to be a professional blogger and be an adviser to other bloggers. His blog is read by millions all over the world and Jon earns hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly.
“A few months later I bought my father a new car”, Jon writes. “Do you understand how special that is for a young man like me that can’t at all move from the neck down to buy his dad a car? And the best thing about it is that I make money from helping people: I help them change their lives around. Each day I get mails from people full of thanks and gratitude. It’s hard to believe! Normally a young man like me would have to wither away in some institution, watch TV and wait to die. But instead of that, people are paying me money to advise them. If my fingers would work, I would pinch myself!”
Jon says over his story to lead listeners to the obvious conclusion: “If I could attain all this as someone handicapped who can only move his head, what is it that you can’t attain?”
In his 30s Jon is one of the oldest patients with this ailment. He has no illusions that his life expectancy is really shorter than average and the ailment will eventually take his life. But when that happens, Jon says that he knows what he is taking with him: not financial success and not the fame, just the knowledge that his life affected others and help them change their lives.
“Like the young man who wrote me that after he read my story he was convinced because of me not to commit suicide”, Jon says. “These things will remain with me forever!”