This holiday season is a time for celebration, optimism, family and friends. Here at Texas State it’s a time for a moment of much needed relaxation before the hectic days of finals settles in. Some of us are going home to our families, a chance to be fed is more than enough incentive to escape for a while if the thought of seeing family isn’t enough. All of us are thankful in one way or another for something this holiday season, but there are those of us, alumni and students alike, who are thankful for just having their lives.
Ryan Fox graduated in 2001 with high hopes and a bright future ahead of him in the Electronic Media industry. Unfortunately, just one moment in time changed everything so that before he knew it Ryan was fighting for the future he had worked so hard to achieve.
Just 5 days after walking across the stage to receive my degrees at Strahan, I was involved in a car crash in Kyle, Texas that changed my life. I was not breathing and had to be recessitated at the scene before being lifeflighted to Brackenridge hospital in Austin. But God’s not finished with me, yet! I was in a coma there for 3 weeks before being transported to TIRR Hospital in Houston (the very best rehabilitation hospital, in the world) where I continued to come out of my coma and started intense physical, occupational and speech therapies for the next 3 and a half months. I did laps in the driveway with Dad when I first started walking with an assistive device. I needed a tall staff & someone watching my left side, and my dad would sit on this rolling stool and move each leg & “do it to it!” This helped me build endurance for my 1st rehab hospital, after TIRR, which was Healthsouth. Then, I moved to Dripping Springs to a facility to teach me to be as independent as possible & lived there for about 9 months.
My time (post Brown Karhan Rehabilitation hospital) was spent back in the lovely “planet Houston” at home, where I continued my physical & speech therapy and still do to this day! I’ve also incorportated other therapies along the way like water, hippotherapy (horseback riding therapy), biofeedback and pilates. I keep up with friends through Facebook and email. I journal pretty much every day just about the day itself. I attend church every Sunday to get my week started on the right foot.
To this generation of Bobcats, you also asked me what I’m thankful for. #1 you already know: God’s grace is what I’m most thankful for, “something I sure don’t deserve, but He blesses me with, anyway!” Coming 2nd is family, as “you can choose your friends and people you look up to, but you’re stuck with the family you’re born into!” I am soooo fortunate to have the family that God has blessed me with! My family is awesome! Yeah, I’m probably a little biased, but I guess that just comes with the territory! My brother & I used to fight like cats & dogs as brothers do, but i don’t know if we just grew out of it or whatever, but I know he’ll be there to catch me when, not “if” I fall, to my left! He’ll say, with a half smile, “Not on Our clock!”
I don’t know what my future holds, but one thing I do know, is I hold the future. I am a survivor. I would end with sharing these words that I choose to live by:
I’m a survivor. Today I choose to live with strength and courage. I will be thankful for the beauty of the ordinary things that surround me. I may have a weakened body, but I have an inspired spirit. I will not fear the future. I will not fear the present. I will live in the moment. I choose to believe that statistics don’t apply to me. I am my own statistic. I will build an extraordinary life, so no matter when I leave this earth, I will leave a legacy of love and strength and courage. I will not become bitter because of my circumstances. I will allow them to shape me, and make me a better person. I will overcome.
I AM A SURVIVOR!
My hope is that when my time on this earth is completed, I can stand before my Heavenly Father and hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Ryan’s story is one that has touched countless lives not just because of his tragedy, but his spirit and willingness to succeed. Despite whatever has happened he is thankful and we should also all be thankful this holiday season for whatever and whoever you have in your life that helps you to succeed as well. Whether you’re a student, alumni, faculty or staff, or anyone who just happens to call Texas State University “home”, know that you have much to be thankful for just by being here. Happy Thanksgiving Bobcats and have a great break!