Topton mother Danita Fenstermacher received a call from the chaplain that no parent wants, especially on Mother’s Day.
Last year, her son Logan, 18 at the time, was the passenger in a car accident that hospitalized him. Logan doesn’t remember that day or the week before. He doesn’t remember putting half a dozen roses in the fridge for his Mom. He doesn’t remember drinking that Saturday night, nor later that night into early morning riding in a car without wearing his seatbelt, or telling the driver to slow down. The car hit a ditch going around a curve and went airborne, striking two trees before flipping upside down and landing on top of an empty dog kennel.
Emergency crews had to cut him out of the vehicle.
Logan, now 19, does remember the doctors telling him he would never walk again.
He had a broken back, collapsed lung, and pneumonia on the other lung. Doctors diagnosed him as paralyzed.
A year later and Logan has defied what doctors told him.
“I just kept working towards it,” said Logan. “90 percent of spinal cord injuries, you really never do walk again. I didn’t want to believe it and just kept trucking forward.”
He is now walking again.
This year’s Mother’s Day marks the anniversary of the accident and both Logan and his Mom want to express their gratitude to the community for their support and prayers.
“I wouldn’t be where I am at now if it wasn’t for the community and people helping me out. I’m very grateful,” said Logan.
“It’s wonderful that people are as caring,” said Danita.
People he didn’t even know were calling him, praying for him.
They feel fortunate that the technology and the surgery were able to help Logan. They really want to help and give back to the community, to help others with spinal cord injuries, but have not found a way to do so yet.
When asked how this has affected his Mom, Danita became emotional.
“It’s a total life changer,” she said, not only for herself but to everyone in the family.
Logan said it has affected his Mom emotionally, financially and psychologically.
“Obviously, you don’t have a peace of mind any more,” said Logan to his Mom. “It’s affected you in every way possible and I notice it without her talking about it. It’s definitely something that no one should ever have to go through. It’s definitely a hard lesson to learn.”
What was the lesson he learned?
“Never drink and drive, ever,” said Logan, who says he has not had a drink since. “Don’t let your friends drink and drive. You’ve got to think before you make a decision.”
For students in high school now, sitting in the anti-drinking and driving assemblies and not taking it seriously, he says, “It’s really not worth it. Think before you do things... If I can help one of the kids... my job is done. If I can change one kid’s decision.”
Danita became emotional again when explaining that Logan has not seen his bedroom since before the accident because it is on the third floor. He moved into a first floor apartment and a ramp was added so he could roll in on his wheelchair. While he can walk, Logan still uses his wheelchair for the majority of his daily routine.
“It’s bitter sweet because he does so well, and that’s what we focus on, we just focus on the positive,” said Danita, who feels for those with spinal cord injuries who will never walk again no matter how hard they work.
Danita commends Lehigh Valley Hospital, trauma neuro, respiratory therapist, everyone.
“He got better and better and they were absolutely amazed,” said Danita.
Danita is proud of her son for his hard work and determination to not let the paralysis diagnosis get him down.
“The physical part isn’t even the hard part, it’s the mental part that chops you down, it’s hard,” he said. “90 percent of the things that you do in a normal day, you can cut out of your life when you’re in a wheelchair.”
Pointing to his wheelchair, Logan said, “If you can go through this mentally, you can do a lot of things in life.”
He was using the wheelchair full-time for about 9 months, but now it’s part-time.
Logan received his high school diploma while still in the hospital.
A certified welder, Logan hopes to continue his education in the welding field.
“Had a little bit of a set back,” said Logan. “I’ll be alright.”