THIBODAUX – As one of his last acts during a century-long life of charity and accomplishment, retired Houma attorney Elton Darsey ensured a better future for a paralyzed Thibodaux athlete he only recently met.
Darsey donated $40,000 this week to the Myron Wright Foundation, whose 22-year-old namesake suffered a spinal-cord injury while playing football for Thibodaux High in 2002.
Darsey died Wednesday morning of natural causes, his great-niece, Diane Baker, said.
“On his last will, he was still giving back,” Baker said. “It takes a wonderful human being to give back like my uncle did.”
Wright, who met with Darsey and his family Sunday in Houma, said he was stunned by the generous gift.
The money will be used to send Wright back to Project Walk, a spinal-cord-Rehabilitation center in California, and purchase an exercise bike designed to stimulate his arm and leg muscles.
“It just shows me that I am really blessed,” Wright said. “I’m just glad he got a chance to meet me before he passed away, got a chance to help me before he passed away.”
Darsey’s family is asking that in lieu of flowers people donate to the Myron Wright Foundation or Bayou Region Hospice.
Baker informed her great-uncle of Wright’s story after reading a Nov. 14 newspaper article detailing Wright’s recent eight-month stay at Project Walk.
Wright’s determination to walk again convinced Darsey to give $10,000.
Saturday, Baker called Wright to ask for an address to mail the check. Wright insisted on thanking the man in person.
When Wright and his family arrived Sunday, Baker had a surprise waiting for them. Instead of the initial amount she promised, Baker presented Wright with a $20,000 check.
“Everybody was in tears and just in awe,” Wright’s aunt, Irma Wright, said. “We didn’t know what to say.”
After receiving the check, Wright asked to see the bedridden Darsey so he could thank him. Once there, the two families said a prayer for both the giver and the given.
“It was like we all hated to part,” Baker said. “It was just so spiritual.”
Darsey’s gift did not end there.
Reminded of how her great-uncle once planned to give the Lafourche Council on Aging a $10,000 donation, only to give them $30,000 when they personally delivered him a thank-you card, Baker felt compelled to reach deeper.
She mailed Wright an additional check for $20,000 Monday. Wright also received a pair of wheelchair ramps valued at $1,200 from Darsey.
“I’m still shook up,” Wright said about the donation. “That’s going to help me get another machine that costs $20,000. The rest of the money will go toward me moving back to Project Walk.”
Wright’s special bike is expected to arrive Saturday, his aunt, Irma Wright, said.
Thanks to Darsey’s gift, there is also a greater likelihood Wright will return to Project Walk next summer. A six-month residency at the rehab center costs approximately $43,000.
Wright’s family plans to raise the remaining $23,000 he needs through a series of events. They include a January banquet during which a plaque will be presented in Darsey’s honor.
Wright said Darsey’s gift would give him added motivation in his quest to walk.
“It just shows me that anything is possible,” Wright said. “You just have to have hope. They do have people out there willing to help you. It shows me I’m not in this battle by myself.”
Anyone interested in donating to the Myron Wright Foundation can call Myron at 713-6227, Irma Wright at 713-5276 or Myron’s uncle Robert Wright at 637-3511.
You can also donate at any local Capital One Bank or can mail a donation to P.O. Box 5051.
Staff Writer – houmatoday.com