Central PA SCI Networking

Keith Parsons C5-6, T12
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My Story


Since graduating from high school I have done the following: gone to Penn State as an undergraduate; lived at the beach; joined a fraternity; dated quite a bit; tried skiing once; received a Bachelors of Science in Management Science and Information Systems; had a long-term, long-distance relationship with a woman from Pittsburgh; briefly worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue; started and been president of my own business; been engaged; ended my business; moved to Pittsburgh; broke off the engagement; moved back to Harrisburg to live with my folks; Penn State and my master’s degree in curriculum & instruction; tried SCUBA diving; and became a professional motivational speaker. During this period I have had good times and bad times. Overall, I have lived a fairly average life, but like everyone else I have a combination of traits and experiences that makes me unique.


For instance, along with the above, in early June of 1990, I went to Ocean City, MD to celebrate senior week four days after graduating from high school. One day later I was in the hospital with a spinal cord injury at levels C5-6 and T12. In the twenty-four hours between I had tried LSD for the first and only time, climbed to the top of a three-story building, jumped from its roof, and landed in the parking lot below. I spent the next three months in the intensive care unit at the University of Maryland Hospital and then the following three months at the Elizabethtown Rehabilitation Center learning how to live and function with my injury. Over the years since then I have spent at least an additional six months in hospitals or bedridden due to three other major operations and resultant infections.


Throughout everything I have had lots of help from friends, family, and professional caregivers. I have learned to ask for assistance when I need it and to speak up when the care I receive is inadequate or insufficient. I know that I need to be mindful of what I eat, how long I sit, and how much I exercise. I am also very willing to share what I have learned whether it be by going to a local middle school to talk to the students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol or stopping by rehab to discuss the ups and downs that come with living with a spinal cord injury. That being said, my email address is keith@keithparsons.com. If you ever have anything you would like to discuss, share, or ask questions about, please do not hesitate to contact me.


I wish you the best!


Keith Parsons


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