Chris Norton was living a happy life.
He had a lot of friends, he was doing well in school, and he was a talented football player. All of that changed one night when he was injured in a game. When he walked on the field earlier that evening, he had no idea how things would go. He talked about his injury, saying:
“I was running down to make a tackle at kickoff after we scored a touchdown, and I made a diving tackle at his legs. I mistimed my jump just by a split second. Instead of getting my head in front of the legs of the ball carrier, my head collided right with his legs, and instantly, I lost all movement and feeling from my neck down.”
Chris’s parents and the rest of the spectators stared at the field as Chris lay there, lifeless.
He wanted to get up and was trying to push against the ground to move, but nothing was working. He was terrified and confused. He was embarrassed that the game would stop, and he kept telling himself to get up, but he just couldn’t move.
The coaches and trainers ran onto the field, and a helicopter was brought in. That’s when Chris knew his injuries were serious. He said:
“I just closed my eyes and started praying and trying to block out what was happening around me. I did not want to accept what was unfolding.”
When he got to the hospital, Chris was told that he suffered a spinal cord injury, fracturing his C3-C4 vertebrae.
He would have to have surgery to try to correct it. When Chris asked the doctor if he would ever walk again, the doctor said he wasn’t sure. Chris said:
“At that point, I just lost it. I was completely scared for my future because up until this point, as an 18-year-old, my life went according to plan. Everything was working out for me. For me, this was not part of the plan.”
After the surgery, Chris learned that there was some hope, but not much.
The doctors told him he would regain movement in his upper body, but he would never be able to move his legs again. Chris couldn’t accept that, and he vowed to prove the doctors wrong. It was a tough battle, though. He explained:
“If I wasn’t sleeping, I was working.”
Finally, after months of pain and hard work, Chris was able to move his toe.
It wasn’t much but to him, it was a sign that he could regain movement. The doctors may have been wrong. It was a glimmer of hope, and he wasn’t going to stop there.
Chris tried to return to a normal life. He went back to college, and he decided he was ready to date. He wasn’t sure he would ever find a girl who wanted to date him. He decided to try online dating, and that’s where he met Emily.
Emily wasn’t the least bit bothered by his disability, and the two had an instant bond.
“We felt like we’d always known each other.”
Emily stayed by Chris’s side, and he struggled to regain movement in his legs. Emily motivated him, and he decided that he was going to set a goal to walk across the stage at graduation. Emily acted as a mini trainer and worked with him each day.
Sure enough, on graduation day, Chris did walk across the stage with the help of Emily.
Later, he started the Chris Norton Foundation. It’s a charity that he dedicated to helping other people with spinal cord injuries. Chris found purpose in helping others, but he was still determined to walk.
As he and Emily grew closer together, he realized that she was the one. The two started planning a wedding. Chris wanted to walk down the aisle with Emily, so he set a goal to do so. On their wedding day, Emily helped Chris reach that goal, as well.
“When I walked with Emily at the wedding, it was such a special moment to share with her and to know that we did this together. It wasn’t just me, or her, but we did this together, and how powerful love can be and how far love can carry you in life and know that we’ll have each other going forth until we pass.”
The couple is now happily married and cares for five foster children.
They motivate and inspire each other every single day. Chris says that there are still dark days, but with Emily’s help, he gets through them.
“Sometimes, the world can seem dark and negative. We just want to be that light in the world to show that life is awesome and just don’t give up on life. Just lean on God, persevere, work hard, and just love on others.”
Finding Emily changed his life, and she makes him want to work hard to be a better husband and person.
Having her at his side makes it easier and makes it all worth it. He is also motivated by helping others, and it has helped him keep his eye on his own goals. He added;
“Life has never been easier, and I know that’s crazy, but when you find something that you love so much, it just doesn’t seem like work, and it brings us so much joy, and it’s incredible to see the power of love.”
He also wants to let other people suffering from these injuries that they aren’t alone and that anything is possible.
He is, after all, living proof.
“What I’m passionate about is to share the experiences from the worst day of my life of suffering a spinal cord injury seven years ago to walking seven yards with my bride, the greatest day of my life. I think that we all want to come back, we all want to rise again, and I’m just really excited to be able to share that.”
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After being given a 3% chance to ever walk again, through determination and hard work, @chrisanorton16 walks his fiancée down the aisle at their wedding. Watch more on #PeopleFeatures: https://t.co/b8dy0Gp0ZX pic.twitter.com/F2WBGz7Jmn
— PeopleTV (@peopletv) April 25, 2018
Source: Inspire More