Will You Participate in a Miracle???

If you’ve read my thoughts on my life’s mission of living with the “spirit of YOLO “, you know that reaching out and blessing others through prayer, emotional & financial support is an intention in my life. Last week I received this email from my neighbor and friend, Elaine. Please take the time to read, go to the blog at I See Ryan Run, watch the video mentioned below and prayerfully consider how you may bless this young man who is experiencing a miracle:

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to introduce you to my nephew Ryan Penney, to give you an update on his recovery and to ask for your help.

Ryan was badly injured this summer when he jumped from Chimney Rock into the water at Lake Martin, Alabama. Upon landing he suffered a burst fracture of the T-12 vertebrae which left him paralyzed from the waist down. In defiance of the initial doctors report that he would never walk again, he has made remarkable progress.

Ryan endured extensive surgery and intensive inpatient rehabilitation at UAB Hospital and Lakeshore Rehabilitation
Hospital in Birmingham and Shepard in Atlanta.  In September, he started his sophomore year at Samford, where he has a full scholarship in performing arts, theater and dance.  He is a brilliant dancer.  He moved into a handicap accessible room at the Sigma Chi fraternity house and still has his cute girlfriend Caitlin.  He spends a lot of time in out-patient therapy at Lakeshore and in the pool at the Special Olympic paraplegic training center in Birmingham.

In August he began to slowly stand and take small steps with the aid of full leg braces and walker.  He now has short braces
(coming to just below the knee) and a new walker complete with wheels, hand brakes and a seat! He even participated in the Boulevard Bolt this past weekend!

Ryan’s attitude is amazing.  He is coping with the daily challenges of his limitations with grace, determination and humor. He doesn’t miss a thing.  His fraternity brothers say he still dances better than they do, even with leg braces and a walker.

Here’s the problem.  At the time of Ryan’s accident he was in the midst of a change in his insurance.  Consequently, all
accident-related insurance claims are considered pre-existing and not covered by his permanent policy.  Yes, unbelievable.
My sister Diane, Ryan’s mother, is doing everything possible to get coverage for him but that won’t happen for a while. In the meantime, the out-of-pocket expenses related to Ryan’s injury are more than $2200 a month.  That is simply beyond Diane’s ability to pay.  Lakeshore has significantly discounted the cost of his therapy to $79 per session, but he needs at least 3 sessions a week to continue his recovery.  Medicines and other injury related equipment are also out-of-pocket.

The first six months are critical to recovery in spinal cord injury.  Nerve regeneration can continue to take place for a year and beyond. There is tremendous pressure to make sure Ryan can receive as much therapy as possible right now.  My sister Linda has created a wonderful website where you can learn more about Ryan’s situation, his progress (by clicking on “blog updates”), see pictures of Ryan and information about donating to help Diane and Ryan cover his expenses.  Here is the link to his website:


When you go to his website and read his story be sure to check out the most recent blog update.  Click on “The Good Stuff” and scroll down. You will see an amazing video shot this past weekend of Ryan taking steps in his new half-braces without his walker!!!

Many of you have asked me over the past months how you can help, and I’ve said that I would let you know.  Here it is.
Now my sister and Ryan need help.  Whatever you can give will be appreciated more than you will ever know.  We’ve set up a
trust account at Regions Bank for Ryan, and the website provides a donate button you can use to donate directly to the trust through Paypal. You DO NOT need a Paypal account to make a donation.  Or, you can send a check to:

The Ryan Penney Trust
P.O. Box 58381
Nashville, TN  37205

Ryan has already far surpassed what the doctors told us to expect after the accident.  We have no reason to doubt that he can make a complete recovery, but he must have hours and hours of therapy to do so.  If you know of anyone else who may be interested in Ryan’s story please feel free to pass this along.

In this season of Thanksgiving, let me say how grateful my family is for the outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have received.

I truly believe that Ryan is surrounded by Angels and we are witnessing a miracle in his recovery.

With all my heart thank you,



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