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Felipe Lara: rejoining the community after diving accident

By Laura Rourke, Access Living, Chicago, IL

Felipe was 27 in August 2005 when we went to Lake Michigan with some friends for a barbeque. He never imagined that he would have an accident that day and become disabled.

At some point during the barbeque, a young boy's ball fell in the lake. Felipe wanted to help the little boy so he went to fetch the ball. Diving into the water, he hit his head and neck on the lake floor, becoming paralyzed, quadriplegic.

Felipe's family didn't have money to help him get back on his feet. A friend referred them to Access Living for help.

Access Living donated an electric wheelchair to Felipe, installed a lift at the Lara's home to make it accessible, got him a shower chair for bathing, and found the family a hospital where he received free physical therapy.

Felipe has been doing very well despite the depression a person experiences when they become disabled. He has started reintegrating into the community and has not given up.