Anthony Greene’s life was changed about nine years ago. A motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. So for the past eight years, he has been bound to a wheelchair, which makes doing his hobbies rather difficult.
Anthony, from Georgetown, Del., enjoys hunting and fishing, just like many other outdoorsmen on Delmarva. But can you imagine the amount of work it takes to wheel yourself through the woods to find the perfect spot and then use your worn out arms to hold a firearm up? How about not being able to touch the ocean? That’s something most people on Delmarva take for granted.
Car and motorcycle accidents happen every day, with some worse than others.
“It was one of those freak accidents,” Anthony said, recalling his motorcycle crash. “I guess someone had tossed a soda bottle out of their window. It went under my front tire and I lost control into a telephone pole.”
Anthony was flown to Shock Trauma and spent months in rehab. A friend of Anthony’s has a similar story.
Darin Ruark from Salisbury became a quadriplegic after a car accident where the car flipped over several times, leaving him with a broken neck and without feeling below his neck. He was flown to Shock Trauma and was in rehab for eight months.
Darin has been in a wheelchair for eight years. He completed high school following his accident, and graduated from Salisbury University. He is a very determined man and has many goals for his future – some of which, he’s already accomplished.
In July 2015, Darin stood next to his wife, Lauren from Laurel, Del., on their wedding day.
This was just one of his goals. Lauren and Darin have always enjoyed going to the beach, but it is such a hassle to get everything prepared before going.
“Her and I had been to the beach five times in the five years we have been together,” Darin said. “I couldn’t get close to the ocean. I was just whereever I was.”
Darin and Lauren discovered an Action Trackchair, an all-terrain wheelchair that would help Darin travel on different terrains such as sand at the beach with ease. They found a dealer in Leon, Va. and traveled to Offroad Trackchair to check the chairs out.
“There’s several companies that make them, and I am huge into doing my research and this is by far the best chair as far as being reliable and being able to go anywhere,” Darin said.
The couple had been saving money for awhile for a chair like this and they were finally at a point where they could purchase one.
On Dec. 28, 2015, Darin was able to touch the ocean on his own for the first time in eight years. He also marked another goal off his list: take a stroll with his wife and their dogs on the beach.
We did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the past 5 years Darin and I have dreamt about walking on the beach together…. Well here it is!!!!!!!!! This track chair has changed our lives!!!!?????????????
Posted by Lauren Ruark on Monday, December 28, 2015
Anthony, Darin, and Lauren have been friends for years.
“Anthony and I went to high school together and he is just a really awesome person,” Lauren said. “He helps out in the community. He’s just one of those guys who gives so much, like he needs this back to him.” Anthony is also a special education teacher.
Anthony went with them to the beach and he rode on the back of Darin’s track chair and he too touched the ocean for the first time in eight years.
Good morning family and friends, as of this morning we have raised 1,895 dollars!!!!! We are so excited and we can not thank you guys enough for all the support so far. I’m excited to see what a new day brings!” When you make JESUS your focus, the pieces of your life fall into place”Please keep sharing our story to everybody you know- Family, friends, co-workers, churches, business, ect. Together I know that we are capable of raising this money!!!!!This is Anthony Greene touching the ocean for the first time in eight years since his motorcycle accident. I know in my heart this is just the beginning of many firsts for Anthony! www.gofundme.com/anthonystrackchair
Posted by Lauren Ruark on Tuesday, December 29, 2015
“We live in an outdoors area where everybody typically grows up playing outside and going to the beach, ” Darin said. “When that’s taken away it’s crazy. We run through a hundred million questions and then we just don’t go. Now it doesn’t matter if the sand is fluffy, or hard, we just go.”
“The thing that I love about Darin and Anthony – they don’t complain about anything. They drop things, they can’t do things, but not once do they say, ‘Oh, why me.'”
An all-terrain wheelchair would help Anthony in so many ways; not just for him to be able to engage in his hobbies and outdoor activities but also help him physically.
“Because of the nurse in me, I see it as the physical part that’s going to help Anthony. A lot of people do not realize that even though they both look healthy, there are still risks that they could develop because they are in these chairs all the time,” Lauren said. “This could help with contractures and osteoporosis. It’s to the point where if Anthony doesn’t stand up, he could develop osteoporosis. Where if he stands everyday, this is going to help. Anthony hasn’t stood in a year. I couldn’t imagine that, so not only is it going to help him physically, it’s going to allow him to hunt by himself and go to the beach, I mean everything.”
As mentioned before, Anthony is a huge outdoorsmen. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and participates in competitive archery. Having an all-terrain wheelchair would help him tremendously since they can go pretty much anywhere.
“I’m somewhat independent. I’ve gotten outside by myself, but it takes so much out of you. By the time you get back to your hunting spot, you’re out of energy and you don’t even want to do it,” Anthony said. “Same thing with archery. We shoot in the woods, so pushing through and then you get to your target where you got to shoot and your arms already shot from pushing around. Just playing around with Darin’s chair, it would make everything so much easier.”
“I can’t say, ‘Darin I’m gonna help you walk today or Anthony you’re going to walk today.’ The only one that can do that is God,” Lauren said. “Maybe they wouldn’t feel injured if they could just do the things they love. I mean we may not be able to fix the big problems but we can fix the small problems.”
“The little limitations are gigantic and meaningful for us, like touching the ocean,” Darin said.
Darin and Lauren started a GoFundMe to raise money to purchase an Action Trackchair for Anthony. In two weeks, they have raised more than $6,000 from the community.
“We’re not going to ask for help. It’s a personal thing,” Anthony said. “I’m so hard-headed as it is. That’s why it took Darin and Lauren to do this because I would have never asked to do this. It’s just not in me.”
The Action Trackchairs are rather expensive. They would like to raise $16.500 by June 2016.
“Them two, they don’t want to say, ‘Oh poor me, give me stuff.’ The way I see it, I don’t have to pay to go walk on the beach. I don’t have to pay to get up and walk. That’s a blessing that God gave me. This track chair, yeah it’s $16,000, yeah it’s expensive, but why does he have to pay for something when I get it for free?”
Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/anthonystrackchair
Lauren, Darin, and Anthony have seen how the community has come together to raise money for Anthony’s chair. They want to do more with this and possibly start a foundation to help others in the community who would like to stroll on the beach with their families and touch the ocean with ease.
“I feel like so many tourists come to Ocean City to have a vacation and I feel like nothing in Ocean City is handicap accessible,” Lauren said. “I would love to get one of these and leave it at Ocean City beach. Even at Assateague. We contacted somebody that works at the beach and he said it would be awesome for Ocean City.”
Darin and Anthony strongly believe they will walk again and after that, they would like to donate their Action Trackchairs to others who have the same dreams of touching the ocean on their own.
“I believe wholeheartedly I will walk and stand again and then I want to give this chair to somebody,” Darin said. “It’s for us to be able to enjoy the beach and hunting for now. We’re still in the mindset that I am going to walk again. Anthony and I know a couple guys that would love to have one. If we could snowball this into something huge, that would be awesome.”