Twelve years ago today, my life was spared and I promised to Remember those Great Samaritans who saved me and to continue to Pay It Forward by performing Random Acts of Anonymous Kindness to pay tribute to my Guardian Angels. Here’s what I wrote in the Morning Call and Easton Express on Oct. 13, 2001.
Grasping a hand was paramount after bicycle crash: [First Edition] Special to the Morning Call — Freelance. Morning Call. Allentown, PA Oct. 13, 2001. pg. A. 39
On Sept. 25 at 5:50AM , I left 614 Parson St. in Easton on my 10 speed bicycle heading to the Easton YMCA to swim. I have been traveling this route for 1 1/2 years, four to five times per week. On this particular morning it was dark, wet, and foggy, so I wore my reflector jacket and, as always, my bicycle helmet. I remember passing George Street and beginning to head downhill on Lafayette Street. My nest memory is of waking up completely numb, unable to feel anything. I sincerely thought I was paralyzed or on my way to dying. One recollection I have is of trying to grab someone’s hand and asking them to hold me and don’t let me go. I remember being fearful of falling asleep for fear of not waking, and asking the people to help me stay awake. At the time, I didn’t know if these were real people or angels.
I can’t remember seeing any faces, just hearing voices. Eventually, I felt someone’s hand. I knew once I felt a hand that I wasn’t paralyzed and I knew I had a chance. I later found out that I made all the people promise to call and come visit me so I could thank them for their help and kindness. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible feelings that I remember from the accident. While I was lying and being attended to, there was an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and helplessness until I could hear and feel someone. I felt like I was slipping away and falling into this lonely, abandoned state while trying to grasp onto something to escape. That’s when I remember trying to grab the hands of the people who came to my rescue.
It seemed like this battle was going back and forth and it wasn’t until I was lying in the hospital that I realized I was going to make it. Once I realized where I was, excitement rushed through my body and I felt I needed t see and touch every person within reach. It was a euphoric feeling that masked most of the pain and made me feel so blessed and thankful for the wonderful people who came to my assistance. I was so appreciative of the friendliness and care from all the doctors, nurses, and helpers from St. Luke’s Hospital and the paramedic crew who transported me. I felt confident that I was in the best of care. Later, I found out there were four people who came to my assistance and a fifth person who also stopped and ultimately saved my life. They found me at 6:20AM, which means I had been lying on the road for almost 20 minutes, in the middle of Lafayette Street, with my bicycle up ahead and the front wheel across the road. The four people who initially found me are Kay Newett, Richard Flick, Courtney Fowlin and Karen Briggnola. They are all employees of American Health Care Apparel. The fifth person who stopped was Patti Notte, a nurse at the Lehigh Valley Medical Center. I thank these five people for their heroic and courageous efforts to help save my life. Their efforts and kindness are constantly in my thoughts and prayers and they always will hold a special place in m heart for giving me more opportunities to live.
I also want to recognize the overwhelming support I have received from Lafayette College, especially the athletic department. In addition, I am grateful for the help and humor of the basketball coaching staff and players, and the love and strength from my family and girlfriend, who have made my recovery progress so quickly.
Because of all the support and kindness bestowed on me, I have not even considered the reasons for the accident. One detail I can recall is looking over my left shoulder because I heard a speeding car and then I felt something. Someday the memory of the accident will come back, but I would rather focus on the courageous people who found me and came to my assistance and all the love and support I have received from all my family, co-workers and friends.
Thank You for saving my life!