Cameron High School Students Purchase New Wheelchair for Ohio Valley Native Partially Paralyzed in Car Crash
Cameron High School students were so moved by a presentation from an Ohio Valley native who was left partially paralyzed after a car crash, that they came together to raise funds to purchase a new wheelchair for her.
Heather Gillespie, who is partially paralyzed from the neck down after being a passenger in a drinking and driving related automobile accident 15 years ago, returned to her old high school to to teach students what life in a wheelchair is like. Gillespie said she wanted to do the exercise, in which four students spend the day using a wheelchair, to show students some of the obstacles that people who are in wheelchairs face on a daily basis.
Gillespie took video clips of the exercise throughout the day, interviewed the students on their experiences, and pieced together a video. A few days later, she returned to Cameron High School for a Health Fair, and did a presentation in front of the school, where she presented the video of the wheelchair exercise, and shared with them her story.
At the end of the presentation, students had a surprise waiting for Gillespie when they presented her with a brand new wheelchair, the money for which was raised by students at fundraisers, held after her first visit. Gillespie soon learned that the idea was sparked by four boys who contacted school officials after her visit and suggested the idea. Soon, the whole school was behind the idea.
Gillespie said she was she was completely surprised and said she fought back tears on stage.
The boys who began the project are Brandon Burgess, Levi Allman, Kody White, and Tyler Courtwright. Gillespie said she wanted the boys to be recognized for their selfless good deed, and to thank them all, and Cameron High School, for the blessing.
Gillespie said she wants to visit with other schools to give them this experience and to share her story with them, and to spread the awareness that spinal cord injuries can happen to anyone.