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Never walk again? Yes, he did

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HARTWELL – Harris Abramson remembers it like it was yesterday – the moment a surgeon stood at his hospital bed, looked down at him and told the avid mountain climber and bicyclist that he would probably never walk again.

Seven years after that day, Abramson walked into the Spinal Cord Injury Expo at the Drake Center on Saturday. He was there, like he is every year, to meet with other survivors, to listen to their stories and share his.

Abramson, 50, of Wyoming, talked about how much his life has changed since he was struck by a car while riding his bike in Forest Park and the years it took to get back something many people take for granted every day.

“Never surrender,” he said. “The first time I stood up out of that wheelchair was awesome. It was like the world just shrunk. It was amazing.”

Although he doesn’t have full function – he walks with the help of braces – he can still hike and has replaced his former, more athletic activities, with hobbies such as bird-watching.

The expo provided access to some of the latest technology and research available for those who suffer from spinal cord injuries. It was also a chance for support groups to come together.

Linda Dunnigan, 50, of Mason, didn’t have a support group when she left Drake Hospital – six months after a 2002 car accident left her a quadriplegic. She is now the coordinator of a support group.

“Some people come for the resources. Some just want to come for friendships. And others, they come for answers when they’re at their wits end,” she said. “And every time that phone rings, it’s a privilege for me to be part of that healing.”

By Quan Truong

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