INSPIRING STORY OF THE WEEK
ROLL OF A LIFETIME
by Lois W. Stern
It happened in a flash. One moment Gabriel Cordell was in his Jeep on his way to an acting audition and the next instant he was lying on the ground with his back pressed hard against a telephone pole. He couldn’t feel his legs; they wouldn’t move. They didn’t hurt–but they didn’t work either.
Gabriel would later learn a woman had run a red light and crashed into his Jeep. He was catapulted from his vehicle, still clutching his steering wheel. Gabriel was now paralyzed from the waist down, and knew that meant his life would be altered forever. But he was determined to not let the accident destroy him.
While in rehab he came to know the children. Many of the little ones had never known a life without the stresses of rehabilitation. Gabriel thought about his twenty-two years of good health and strong legs and felt strangely blessed. He had had many opportunities he once took for granted. Plus he was no stranger to hard work.
A new focus for Gabriel – An inspiring story for the rest of us
Gabriel had heard of three paraplegics who rode their wheelchairs across America, each using a specially modified wheelchair. Gabriel was determined to roll across America too, but he would do it differently. He would roll in a stock wheelchair, the kind anyone could buy at a medical supply store. “It was really important to me to accomplish my goal in a standard wheelchair because it represented the everyday person. I felt I could make a difference while fulfilling my destiny to do something special with my life.”
Gabriel, in training at the Burbank Y
In the beginning Gabriel thought this trip was all about him. He was thinking only about fulfilling a promise to himself and meeting a challenge. “I wanted to validate myself as a man. But I also wanted to give my parents that moment of pride.” However, a week into the roll, Gabriel came face to face with his ‘Awakenings’ moment. He suddenly realized that the trip was not about him. Instead, it was a way to inspire people to be better and do better with their lives.
Gabriel not only completed his journey, but has given us a most inspiring story.
Roll of a Lifetime is now published in
Tales2Inspire ~ The Topaz Collection