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Published on January 26, 2014

Lawrence man overcomes paralysis to help others with rehab

Written by: Brooke Lennington, 6News Lawrence

While soaking in the beautiful summer sunrise in Tuscany, Italy, back in 2011 Sam Porritt decided to take a picture with his iPhone, but for Porritt it was a picture that would change his life forever.

"I remember the feeling of gravity pulling on my feet, like taking a step, and it just didn't stop," Porritt Said.

The dream vacation in Italy soon became a nightmare for Porritt when his wife found him lying on the ground after falling off a 15 foot ledge.

"Your life kind of quickly flashes before your eyes and you go 'I'll never be the same again, because I instantly realized I was paralyzed, the thought in the back of my head was my life is over," Porritt said.

And Porritt was paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury, but as he was admitted to outpatient rehab he discovered he had an unusual insurance policy.

"And they said, you have this really amazing policy we've never seen before," Porritt said.

It was insurance that said there was no cap on rehab, and has allowed Porritt to continue rehab for 2 and half years.

"And go from being in a wheel chair, to having a walker, to walking with crutches and ultimately to a cane," Porritt said.

While it has been a long and slow recovery for Porritt to get to where he is at today, he says many people's insurance just covers 20 visits to a rehab clinic.

"If my journey had ended after 20 visits I would still be using a walker today. You really don't know if there recovery is done, in fact I would argue their recovery is not done," Porritt said.

So to help change the lives of others being cut off short for the rehab process Porritt has started the Falling Forward Foundation in August of 2013, that allows people to seek rehab when their insurance runs out. Already benefitting 5 people, including Caroline Hicks after suffering a stroke in her sleep.

"And that stress of knowing you're to the end of your twenty visits and you know for a fact you are not where you need to be and what are you going to do?," Hicks said.

Through the Falling Forward Foundation Hicks will continue and help her achieve her goal of getting back to where she was before.

"It's hard not to be able to go to the grocery store, be able to tie your shoes, and this for me, therapy is my way to try and get that back." Hicks said.

For more information about the Falling Forward Organization click here.

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