everyday, everywhere, to people of all ages and
descriptions, and from all walks of life. And they happen in
many different ways.
In 1990, I was
at the height of my career as a professional race car driver.
Then, on a test run in England, an accident -- a freak one by
racing standards --left me
paralyzed with a devastating spinal cord injury.
was concern if I would even survive my injuries at all. I
careened from one medical crisis to another, taking my family
and loved ones along on that same wrenching, emotional
roller-coaster ride. Then, when the imminent dangers had passed,
I arrived at the forefront of living life in the wake of a
paralyzing spinal cord injury.
than six months earlier I had chosen The Miami Project to Cure
Paralysis as my personal charity, and I had already begun
assisting them in raising funding for spinal cord injury
research. I clearly recall personally placing their logos on my
race car, never then dreaming that within a few short months my
future would be in their hands.
A number of years
have passed since the fateful day I was paralyzed. In that time,
my compassion for victims of spinal cord injuries, and respect
for the families and friends of those standing behind them has
grown immeasurably. I have learned that hope, encouragement and
determination aided by education, are among the keys in creating
a meaningful, satisfying life despite physical obstacles.
I am lucky. I
have a wonderful family and an amazing
friends and business associates who share my commitment
a better future for those with spinal cord injuries
and other central nervous
system disorders. Significantly,
there has never been a time of
more important and promising research to find a cure for spinal
cord paralysis then right now.
The Darrell Gwynn
Foundation (DGF) was created to help aid that critical research
by raising funds for that purpose. In addition to supporting
various worthwhile research initiatives, DGF concerns itself
with Quality of Life issues for those with spinal cord injuries.
My life, both
before and after my spinal cord injury, has surrounded
professional auto racing. Surprisingly, there are similarities
between side-by-side competition at more than 300
miles-per-hour, and the quest to cure spinal cord injuries. Both
are expensive. Both are ultimately competitions against the
clock. And with adequate funding, technical expertise and
dedication, both can be won.
There's an old
saying in auto racing, "It's not where you start, but where you
finish." That's also true of living life with a spinal cord
injury. The race to find a cure for paralysis from spinal cord
injury is well underway. With continuing help, I am certain that
race will one day be won.