Paralyzed boating accident victim’s courage, attitude inspire others
NORTH ANDOVER — Until two months ago, things couldn’t have been better for Chris Boshar.
He was excited about his job at Boston Capital, Inc., and was looking forward to moving in with his girlfriend of four years, Sarah Paulson.
On the Fourth of July, the avid outdoors man was enjoying the day at his family’s cottage in New Hampshire’s lake region when he fell off a boat.
The accident left him with a spinal cord injury that changed his life.
“When I saw him lying down in the water, he said, ‘Mom, I’m in trouble,” said Kathy Boshar Reynolds, former development director at Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.
He was rushed to a local hospital and later was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Despite his paralyzing injury, Chris Boshar has kept an upbeat attitude.
“He has not had one day of self-pity,” Boshar Reynolds said. “He’s very goal minded and hasn’t given up. He is a really good kid. He’s been an inspiration to so many people,” she said.
Boshar Reynold, former president of the Lawrence Rotary Club, said it’s still difficult to see her son in such condition.
“I can’t even cry anymore. There almost no tears left in me. As a mother you just do what you have to. He is the most important thing in my life.”
His aunt, Pam Lawlor agreed.
“Sometimes I think I’m going to wake up and this would have been all a bad dream,” Lawlor said.
Although he worked in Boston, Chris Boshar volunteered at special events at Boys and Girls Club in Lawrence as well as at Rosie’s Place.
“He is not just a kid who would sit back and go with the flow. He has an inner drive. He’s very family oriented and everything he does, he does with passion,” Lawlor said.
Since the accident, family members, friends, coworkers and even strangers have rallied around Boshar whose nickname is “Bosh”.
A Facebook page was created and within weeks it had close to 3,000 friends from across the United States and around the world.
Coworkers at Boston Capital, Inc. where he is a technical underwriter, paid for an air ambulance to take him to Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga. Employees have also been helping his mother finance her stay in Atlanta and have given the Boshars all their air miles so family members and his girlfriend can visit him.
To prepare for his return home, a team of personal and family friends that call themselves, “Team Bosh” have been working to make the ranch-style home handicap accessible.
Kathy Edholm is coordinating the addition along with local builder Christopher Sciacca, general contractor; Doug Shoop, architect; Jim D’Angelo, president of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence; Matt Dillis, Boshar’s boss; Pam Lawlor, his aunt and god mother; Paulson and Mike Coffin, Boshar’s roommates while in college and after he graduated with a degree in landscaping from University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Coworkers held a fund-raiser featuring auction with raffles where they raised $25,000.
“I was so blown away by his work ethics, personality, his hunger for knowledge and personal skills, I had to hire him because he was the right person for the job,” Dillis said.
Several other fundraising events have been held locally including a golf outing on Monday by the Lawrence Rotary Club; “Chris Boshar Night” at the Irish Cottage in Methuen and “Happy Hour for The Boshman” at Scholar’s Boston Bistro in Dracut. Two tickets to Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees game were donated to support Boshar. They are also selling “Boshman” wrist bands for $5 and “Team Bosh” T-shirts for $15 to raise money for medical and building expenses.
“She has helped so many kids in Lawrence and now she is the one needing the help,” said Marcus Fischer, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence., about Boshar Rynolds.
There have also been prayers. Shortly after the accident 200 people attended a service at Unity Church in Somerville.
Shoop is the architect building the 830-square foot addition to the 1,400-square-foot house near North Andover center. What is now the family’s sun room will be Boshar’s family room.
“We want to give him as much individual space as possible,” Shoop said.
The addition will have its own entrance, a covered porch/portico, a large restroom so he can move around and an office where Boshar can work. Along the hallways will be closets and storage areas.
Shoop said there is one important feature — lots of windows.
“Windows will help him emotionally so he doesn’t feel he is in an enclosed space,” Shoop said.
Despite his physical condition, Boshar’s spirits remain high, friends and family members said.
“He is more concerned about us and how we’re doing,” said Paulson, his girlfriend, whom Boshar met while working as a landscaper on Martha’s Vineyard.
“I loved his smile. He was a free-spirited guy who had so much ambition and plan in his life,” she said of his first impression.
The two talk through Skype and she makes ‘Good Morning’ videos for him. Paulson also texts him throughout the day, sends him random photographs and writes on his Facebook page.
“It’s really hard, but what keeps me strong is knowing he will be coming home,” Paulson, who said she has been reading the Bible and going to church more to pray for Boshar’s recovery.
Up until the accident Boshar Reynolds said her son was an avid sportsman who climbed Mount Washington for his 25th birthday. He also enjoyed swimming, surfing and hiking.
Chris Boshar was also health conscious not only for himself but for family members’ exercise and nutrition.
He enjoys reading and watching historical documentaries on the Discovery Channel.
It is because of his attitude about life and healthy living that family members and friends are optimistic about his recovery.
“Chris’ phenomenal inner strength and willingness to go forward will help him,” Pam Lawlor, Boshar’s aunt and godmother said.
“Every day we have to believe that God is going to answer our prayers. I believe that Chris is going to get a miracle and will be talking about it for years to come,” Lawlor said.
How to help:
What: Benefit for Chris Boshar
When: Sept. 16 from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. There will be appetizers, a cash bar, raffles, silent auction, door prizes and a DJ.
Where: Lenzi’s, 810 Merrimack Ave., Route 110, Dracut
Donations are $25. Checks can be made to the Chris Boshar Fund.
By Yadira Betances