1800-9090-8089
hope@chairthehope.org

In The Press

Chair the Hope: Funding Wheelchairs Around the World

Join us Monday night for a special evening as it marks the premier of the Chair The Hope documentary. The documentary depicts the journey of the Ogden family who biked over 1000 miles through Idaho to raise money for the Wheelchairs Foundation. Proof providing the eye wear needed for just the occasion, they started route in Mt. Bachelor Oregon and ended their journey in Los Angeles California this last summer.

You can buy tickets here: https://chairthehope.org

Chair The Hope is a charity started by the Ogden family, their goal is to help inspire others to keep moving forward in light of physical, mental & emotional challenges, all the while raising $100,000 to the Wheelchair Foundation. Currently with their latest trek, they have raised over 9,000 dollars, well on their way to making their goal.  

The Wheelchair Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to creating awareness of the needs of individuals with disabilities on an international scale by providing any child, teen or adult with a wheelchair, if they cannot afford one. For these people, the Wheelchair Foundation not only provides the person with a wheelchair, this also gives the person a sense of hope and independence which is something everyone deserves. And with every pedal, every mile, the Ogden family has provided just that.

We hope to see you next Monday night, the 14th, at the Majestic theater!

Proof: https://www.iwantproof.com/blogs/news/chair-the-hope

Read more

“Chair the Hope” documentary ready for the big screen

Chair The Hope Documentary

A Treasure Valley man’s wheelchair was taken from him, but that hasn’t hampered his giving spirit.

Nathan Ogden’s wheelchair was stolen last fall at a Boise State football game; that chair is still missing. 

It takes a lot to get Ogden and his family down. Ogden has broken his neck not once, but twice.

Last July, he traded he traded his wheelchair for a bike and joined his family on a 1,200 mile bike ride to raise money for wheelchairs for those in need across the world. 

Over spring break, the family hand-delivered the chairs in Mexico. A film crew joined them on the journeys. 

“As we’ve progressed through this process we’ve realized that this journey can affect so many other people’s lives,” Heather Ogden, Nathan’s wife, said. “Having a camera crew with us was neat and fun because they’re great guys, but we have really realized this movie is going to be able to reach so many people.”

The Chair the Hope documentary is making its big screen premiere at the Majestic Cinemas in Meridian Monday, May 14 at 7:00 pm. 

Tickets are $10 and all the money will go to the Ogdens’ Chair the Hope nonprofit. 

“If you want to see something that will motivate you, that will help you realize that you can do harder things, that you can dream bigger, that you can do better and you can help more, this is it,” Nathan Ogden said. 

Source: Article originally published on ABC News Channel 6.

Read more

Nathan Ogden gives back after community support

Chair The Hope Co-Founder Nathan Ogden discovered that his wheelchair had been stolen while watching a football game.

Watch for the full story.

The Meridian man who had his wheelchair stolen at a Boise State football game in September is giving back in a big way after the community showed him so much support.

Read Transcript:

We have an update on Nathan Ogden, the Meridian man who had his wheelchair stolen at a Boise State football game in September. Although the wheelchair was never found, he has received so much support since then.

It’s turning into a positive thing, not just for him, but for so many others. As our Tami Tremblay tells us, there’s an event coming up next week where you can get involved.

During the Boise State-Virginia game, Nathan Ogden’s customized wheelchair disappeared.

Nathan Ogden, “You know, it happens. Bad things happen.”

It still has not been found.

Nathan: I think people were more angry than I ever was. In everything that happens, you have to look for the good.

And he says that so much good has followed the theft in September. Including someone stepping up, buying him a new wheelchair.

Nathan: The love and support was awesome.

And he says it just kept coming.

Nathan: Hundreds of thousands of people were following what was happening. Where is his wheelchair, why did it happen? And because of that, we met some neat people who said, “Nathan, we want to help.”

Many of them donated money. Around $22,000 has been raised so far. Nathan says it will go to a cause close to his family’s heart. The Wheelchair Foundation.

It’s going towards wheelchairs for those who need them.

Nathan, his wife Heather, their four children are planning to help deliver the wheelchairs to poor communities in Mexico in the Spring.

Put them in a chair and say, “Hey listen, this is yours. You get to keep it. You can now live dreams, you can now play, you can now do what you want to do.”

Nathan Ogden

And they want to do that for as many people as possible. So before the trip a benefit is being planned called Chair The Hope.

It’s going to be an amazing event.

A donor has already said he will match up to $20,000 raised.

Nathan says all the positive deeds have helped him stay positive.

For these last two months sitting in a chair that has caused more pain. It limits my ability to do the things I want to do. It stinks. It’s not fun. It’s harder on my family. It’s been hard on me. However, the good that’s coming out of this, far outweighs any discomfort that I’m going through.

In Boise, I’m Tami Tremblay. Idaho’s News Channel 7.

Source: https://www.ktvb.com/video/news/local/nathan-ogden-gives-back-after-community-support/277-2817084

Read more

Quadriplegic man bikes 1,200 miles to “Chair the Hope”

It’s been two months since NBC5 News first told you about a quadriplegic father and his family bike riding 1,200 miles down the West Coast.

quadriplegic man bikes 1200 miles nathan ogden

They’ve completed the journey and are now sharing their stories.

The Ogden family has raised more than $40,000 dollars.

That means at least 280 wheelchairs for the disabled in developing countries and just because the ride is done it doesn’t mean their efforts to help are over.

“It was a really neat moment. I think to finally have all that effort and work and fear and excitement – everything bound up into one – finished,” Nathan Ogden said.

1,200 miles and 11 days later, the Ogden family had finally made it to their personal finish line – the Santa Monica pier.

“You have to realize that no matter how small we may feel, we can do great things and that’s what we were doing… we were trying to push to do something bigger than ourselves,” Ogden said.

Nathan Ogden is a quadriplegic but he and his family decided to make the trek in a relay-style to “Chair the Hope”.

The family is raising money to provide wheelchairs for disabled people in developing countries.

“They can have the opportunity to choose what they wanna do each day,” Ogden said.

Throughout the 11 days of riding, Ogden says the most challenging part was making sure everyone remained positive and healthy.

For the most part he says the trip was a success.

“My wife hurt her wrist, but other than that we didn’t have any injuries. We were pretty blessed that nobody went down with a major problem,” Ogden said.

He says he’ll never forget the sights he saw from Crater Lake to the Redwoods to riding along the ocean.

While he’s holding onto those memories, he’s certain they’re not done yet.

In fact, the family is visiting Mexico in the spring to hand out wheelchairs in person.

“As a family we get to go down and physically help people into these chairs and see how their lives are changed and to me… that’s the icing on the cake. That’s everything coming around full circle and I can’t wait for that,” Ogden said.

A documentary about the Ogden family’s journey a comes out in a month.

Proceeds from that will also benefit the cause.

The Ogden’s are still hoping to raise $100,000 dollars.

If you’d like to donate, visit https://chairthehope.org/

Source: https://kobi5.com/news/quadriplegic-man-bikes-1200-miles-to-chair-the-hope-61052/

Read more

Meridian family bikes 1,200 miles to raise money for wheelchairs

The Ogden family set out on a ride from Bend, Oregon, to the Santa Monica Pier to prove you can do hard things.

MERIDIAN — A local family is changing lives 1,200 miles at a time: the Ogdens set out with a mission to ride along the West Coast and raise awareness and money for wheelchairs to be delivered to those in need in developing countries.

“The only thing that kept us pushing so hard was knowing that we’re doing this for someone else,” Chair the Hope co-founder Nathan Ogden said.

The family conquered their goal in 11 days, inspiring those who heard their story to persevere, despite disabilities and fears. It has been about two weeks since the Ogdens finished their ride. It didn’t come without challenges, but they say they always had their mission at the forefront. Through the “Chair the Hope” bike ride, the Ogdens set out to raise money for the Wheelchair Foundation because they know first-hand how critical a wheelchair is.

MOREBoise family’s 1,200 mile bike trek aims to provide wheelchairs for those in need

“It was a successful, amazing ride that we’ll all remember and we know that everything we did will change someone’s life forever,” Ogden added.

The Ogdens set out on a 1,200-mile trek from Bend, Oregon to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles to prove you can do hard things.

“We averaged about 115 or 120 miles a day,” said Heather Ogden, Nathan’s wife and co-founder of Chair the Hope.

It was a journey sparked only four months prior, by a spontaneous notion.

“The thought was kind of given to me of: this will make a difference in people’s lives,” Heather added.

A journey she felt called to, and one that the whole family jumped on.

Sixteen years ago, Nathan broke his neck in a ski accident on Mt. Bachelor in Oregon.

“Three days before Christmas while snow skiing I came off a jump wrong and I shattered my neck and was paralyzed- paralyzed everywhere initially,” Nathan said. “And over the next year, I gained back most of my upper-body strength, and my legs starting to move a tiny bit.”

Then, Nathan says, he came down with pneumonia because his lungs were weaker. He went unconscious in his sleep and was rushed to the hospital. While he was there, he says he fell off an x-ray table while he was still unconscious, and broke his neck again.

“After the second neck break a year after the first one, I lost use of my hands, triceps and everything from the chest down. And I haven’t been able to regain any of that.”

His message through life as a quadriplegic and through this adventure: do not let excuses stand in the way of your ambitions.

“This was hard, but we learned a whole lot,” Nathan said.

“People say you can’t do it in this amount of time, but you actually can do it if you work really hard,” said the Ogdens’ ten-year-old daughter, Cortlyn.

The family of six is not a bike-riding family, they say. They only owned two bikes when they decided to pursue this journey — and both had flat tires. The family only trained for about a month once they got their road bikes and gear.

“The whole project was completely based off of faith because it was a very overwhelming, huge project,” Heather said.

Their motivation through the ride: changing lives by raising money to give wheelchairs, hope and independence to people in under-served areas of the world, who don’t have access to them otherwise.

“You just think of who you’re going to do it for and what cause you’re doing it for,” 12-year-old Malani Ogden said.

The family had pictures from the Wheelchair Foundation of people in need in developing countries receiving wheelchairs. That was motivation for them each and every morning, Malani said.

“If we wanted to give up or we just couldn’t do it or whatever, we just looked at them and knew that we could do it. We can do hard things.”

“That’s what was pushing us, driving us. That’s what got us up those hills,” Nathan added.

Through the Wheelchair Foundation, just $150 purchases a wheelchair to be delivered to an individual in need in a developing country.

“That now can go to these individuals that are sitting on a dirt floor and they’re not able to go live life the way they want to. They don’t have that agency. And this will allow that,” Nathan said.

Along with more than $30,000 in donations, several businesses sponsored Chair the Hope and thousands supported them through social media.

While Heather and Nathan say it was amazing to see their family pull together and tackle this task, their ultimate goal is to hand-deliver the wheelchairs they rode all those miles for.

“Our hope is to be able to take our family now that they’ve ridden the miles for this cause, to then be able to take them and actually help put together wheelchairs and lift the people up and put them in the chairs that they rode for,” Heather said. “I think that will be the most rewarding and sweetest experience of this whole ride. Being able to see that reward at the end of having people get their wheelchairs and have that new independent life is going to be amazing.”

The Ogdens hired a film crew to document their adventure, and are planning on showing the film in about a month. Through the ride, they’ve raised more than $30,000 through donations, and are trying to get to $40,000 through a matching donation.

“We’re going to keep pushing until we can get as many wheelchairs out there as we possibly can,” Nathan said.

You can still donate to the cause at ChairTheHope.org.

Source: https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/community/chair-the-hope-meridian-family-bikes-1200-miles-to-raise-money-for-wheelchairs/462269560

Read more

Quadriplegic man biking 1,200 miles to “Chair the Hope”

Prospect, Ore. — A quadriplegic father and his family are bike riding 1,200 miles down the west coast to bring hope and wheelchairs to the world.

Read more

Paralyzed Treasure Valley man helping others through “Chair the Hope” bike relay

Nathan Ogden is quadriplegic, but he’s about to take a ride most would never attempt. 

chair the hope wheelchair charity
Nathan Ogden (center) is with a group of volunteers making wheelchair deliveries around the world to people who need them.

Ogden has broken his neck not once, but twice.

“I broke my neck 15 years ago snow skiing and was paralyzed,” he said. “Then, was dropped off an x-ray table and broke my neck again.” 

Ogden is about to trade his wheelchair for a bike. 

He explained his mission to “Chair the Hope” at Tuesday’s Meridian Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. 

“I know what it’s like to not be able to move and do what I want to do, and I know throughout the world there are so many, not just kids but adults, that are unable to get around their village or city that they’re in,” Ogden said. 

With the help of his wife and four kids, Ogden will bike in a relay from Bend, Oregon to Los Angeles. 

“The whole purpose is we’re starting up where it all started for me: in the snow,” he said. “I wrote a book called Unfrozen which talks about how to go from being mentally stuck and kind of thawing your life out. So we figured what better way to start than in the snow and end up in L.A. where it’s pretty warm.”

By: Marissa Morrison

Nathan Ogden is quadriplegic, but he’s about to take a ride most would never attempt. 

Ogden has broken his neck not once, but twice.

“I broke my neck 15 years ago snow skiing and was paralyzed,” he said. “Then, was dropped off an x-ray table and broke my neck again.” 

Ogden is about to trade his wheelchair for a bike. 

He explained his mission to “Chair the Hope” at Tuesday’s Meridian Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. 

“I know what it’s like to not be able to move and do what I want to do, and I know throughout the world there are so many, not just kids but adults, that are unable to get around their village or city that they’re in,” Ogden said. 

With the help of his wife and four kids, Ogden will bike in a relay from Bend, Oregon to Los Angeles. 

“The whole purpose is we’re starting up where it all started for me: in the snow,” he said. “I wrote a book called Unfrozen which talks about how to go from being mentally stuck and kind of thawing your life out. So we figured what better way to start than in the snow and end up in L.A. where it’s pretty warm.”

The goal is to raise $100,000 for the Wheelchair Foundation. 

“Each wheelchair only costs $150,” Ogden said. 

Ogden and his family plan to hand-deliver some of the wheelchairs to families in a developing nation. 

Though the money goes to help mobilize other across the world, Ogden says he hopes the inspiration behind his mission touches closer to home.

“I want people to know that you can do hard things and that you should put your mind out there and dream bigger than you are right now,” he said. “That way, when you accomplish it, oh man. You can’t fathom what it will be like.”

The journey begins July 10. 

To follow along with the journey or to donate, click here

Source: https://www.kivitv.com/news/paralyzed-treasure-valley-man-helping-others-through-chair-the-hope-bike-relay

Read more

Quadriplegic and Family to Cycle 1,200 Miles to Raise Money for Wheelchairs

For Nathan Ogden, life changed dramatically when he broke his neck coming off a ski jump in Oregon 15 years ago. He became paralyzed. Over the next year he made excellent progress and regained some upper body strength and mobility when he was hit with pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. While there and unconscious, he was dropped from the X-ray table and broke his neck a second time, causing additional loss of his upper body function.

Now, as a quadriplegic, he lives a full life and wants to help others do the same. Ogden has set out to put his wheels to work this July during a 2-week family bike ride from Mt. Bachelor Oregon (the site of the first break), to Los Angeles California. CHAIR THE HOPE spawned from an idea Ogden’s wife had – a bike ride, roughly 1,200 miles in length, and relay-style with their family of six. In true Ogden family fashion, they’re ready to roll with it.

The goal of CHAIR THE HOPE is to inspire others to get outside and keep moving despite disabilities, fears, or excuses, while raising $100,000 to donate to the Wheelchair Foundation. During the past 17 years, the Wheelchair Foundation has gifted over 1 Million wheelchairs to people in need all over the globe. Ogden is passionate about getting kids out to play, and fathers back to work to support their families, and overcoming the barriers of immobility.

Ogden is an inspirational speaker, trainer, and coach. In 2016 he published the book, Unfrozen – Superior Systems to Move from Paralysis to Progress. He resides in Boise Idaho with his wife Heather, and their four children Seniya (18), Kyler (16), Malani (12), and Cortlyn (10).

Source: https://crescentcitytimes.com/chair-the-hope-boise-idaho/

Read more

Meridian family touched by paralysis will ride 1K miles to help others in need

meridian family touched by paralysis

After lying in bed with a head cold and sinus infection for a week, Heather Ogden, bored and restless, got an idea.

“I thought, ‘We need to get some wheelchairs to people down in developing countries,’” Ogden said.

What better way to raise funds and awareness, she thought, than to take a 1,000-mile family bike trip along the West Coast?

One evening she announced her big plan to her family — including her bewildered husband.

They stared back at her for a moment.

“You should, like, talk to your husband first,” Nathan Ogden later joked.

But Nathan Ogden and the kids — ages 17, 16, 12 and 10 — quickly got on board.

The family starts their trek July 10 in Bend, Oregon, and will ride to Los Angeles in 10 to 12 days. They’ll tackle the 1,200 miles relay-style, taking turns on different legs of the journey.

Nathan Ogden’s bike will be hand-powered. It’s his story that makes the need for wheelchairs such a meaningful issue for the family.

Three days before Christmas in 2001, Nathan Ogden, 26 at the time, was skiing at Mt. Bachelor in Bend while Heather Ogden shopped with her sister. The Ogdens had two children under the age of 3.

Nathan Ogden hit a jump wrong on the ski hill, was shot an estimated 25 feet into the air, and landed on his neck, shattering his seventh cervical vertebra.

“My brother-in-law, he actually had to drive to the store and come find us because we didn’t have cellphones,” Heather said. “He just said that Nate had injured his back really bad, and I needed to go to the hospital. I knew right then, that feeling like, ‘OK this, it’s not going to be an easy fix.’”

Nathan was paralyzed, but he and Heather were confident that he would walk again. He made hopeful progress over the next several months and regained the use of his upper body through intense rehabilitation. He even went back to work at a shipping company in Boise, driving a Ford truck customized for his condition.

“It was working,” Nathan said. “We were starting to kind of get a new life back together, or at least our goals were coming back into view.”

But just 13 months after the accident, Nathan was dropped from a gurney at the hospital while getting X-rays. His neck broke again in a different place, this time causing more damage and paralysis than before.

The Ogdens won a malpractice lawsuit against St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in 2005, awarded $5.7 million by a jury. But the Ogdens said the judge did not rule on that amount, and they ended up settling for a lower, undisclosed amount.

The couple said they harbor no bad feelings toward the hospital or the X-ray technician.

“It was an accident,” Nathan said. “We still go there.”

But Nathan’s loss of mobility from his second neck break was more severe than the first.

“I lost my hands, I lost my triceps in the back of my arms, I lost everything from the chest down. None of that was coming back,” he said. “That’s when it started hitting me.”

Nathan’s former dreams and goals became sources of despair.

“I want to take my kids camping. I want to hike them up in the mountains like my dad and me, and, you know, fishing and hunting and sports and all these things,” he said. “And all of a sudden I’m like, I can’t do that. Or I can do it, but it’s going to be so different from the way I wanted to do it.”

He and Heather had two more children after the accident in the hospital. Heather said she went into “rock mode” — doing what she needed to do to take care of her family without letting emotions get in the way.

Nathan saw her mowing the lawn and taking out the trash, and he sank deeper into self-doubt and frustration.

“I’m sure there was a lot of, ‘What good am I?’” Nathan said. “You know, ‘How good of a husband can I really be? How good of a father am I? I mean, I’m going to things, but do my kids really care? They need a dad who can go out and chase them around. My wife needs a husband who can do more than I can do.’”

Heather said in her determination to be strong for the family, she wasn’t giving Nathan the emotional connection he needed.

“We just slowly started pulling apart,” Nathan said.

Heather wasn’t getting what she needed either, she said, which was for Nathan to show her that he was still motivated to make progress.

“During that time, we didn’t work as well together as a team,” she said. “Nate was really suffering with depression and really suffering with just trying to figure out what he wanted to be and who he wanted to be.”

Nathan tried to write motivational speeches, but he would sit in his office for hours and get nothing done. His children would comment on how he never laughed during funny movies or cried.

One step toward recovery was getting off a pain medication that Nathan said was dulling his emotions. Though that meant he’d be in more pain from the nerve damage, at least he would feel more alive, Nathan said. When the medication wore off, he started to feel like himself again. He’d laugh deeply and cry at the slightest things.

Heather teases him, “He was always like, ‘This is so stupid, why am I crying?’”

Though life looks different from what they expected, the couple has found new ways to support each other and pursue adventure. They went sky-diving together and took their children on a trip to St. George, Utah, to rappel 150 feet off a cliff. The family moved to Virginia for a year in 2015-16 just to try out a new place.

The 1,200-mile bike trip this summer is their next big experiment. Someday, Nathan wants to dive with great white sharks — though Heather still needs some convincing.

“We’ve had our hard times. And that’s not to say that it’s always easy even now, but we’ve been able to figure out that we’re good together,” Nathan said. “We love each other, we’ve got an amazing family, and we don’t want to ruin any of that.”

The goal throughout all of their experiences, the couple said, is to help others. They now have a window into what it’s like to be depressed or anxious or in a rocky marriage, Heather said.

“We can help others who have been through that,” she said. “And I’m not saying we’re going to fix it, but we can be compassionate to it.

“We are grateful that God has given us kind of that greater understanding of, we’re just all here to help each other and to pull each other up and get rid of the judgments.”

‘EPIC’ BIKE TRIP

The Ogdens are not a family of seasoned cyclists. In fact, they only own three bikes between the six of them.

“Right now we’re so out of our comfort zone,” Heather said.

“We have no clue what we’re doing,” Nathan added.

They do, however, have three main purposes for the trip:

1. Raise money for wheelchairs. The family secured a partnership this week with the Wheelchair Foundation, a nonprofit that delivers wheelchairs to children and adults in need around the world. The Ogdens’ goal is to raise at least $100,000, and they plan to be part of the wheelchair delivery trip, whenever and wherever that might be.

2. Have an “awesome, epic family adventure” that they’ll never forget, Nathan said.

3. Show people that they can do hard things. “Your dream should be something that you have to stretch for,” Nathan said. “There should be unknown, there should be fear, there should be so much excitement when you reach it.”

The Ogdens are looking for sponsors to support their journey. They estimate that the bike trip and the trip overseas to help deliver wheelchairs will cost the family $55,000. That includes funding for a film crew who will make a documentary of the bike journey.

The family prays each night for the individuals who will receive the wheelchairs, Heather said. She taped photos of children who need wheelchairs to her stationary bike to remind her to push through, even when her body hurts from training or she feels stressed from planning the logistics.

“I just feel so connected with these kids and these people now,” she said.

NEW OUTLOOK

Nathan wrote about his experiences and life lessons in his book, “Unfrozen,” and he’s delivered motivational talks across the country.

He remembers one youth event in particular when an attractive girl who had been surrounded by boys approached him.

Nathan said he assumed she had everything going for her. But she surprised him. That night was going to be her last, she told him, before she took her own life. But something he said inspired her to keep fighting.

“Sometimes you wonder if you’re making a difference, if it matters,” Nathan said. “And it may not have to most of the people in there. But something I said, I don’t know what it was — and maybe it was nothing I said, it was just the way she felt — made a difference.”

Nathan and Heather have heard similar feedback from other people over the years, about how the family’s story and outlook on life gave them hope to keep going.

Nathan said his children are an inspiration in the way they treat others and take care of him.

“You can see on our YouTube page my son packing me out of the subway in New York City because the elevator broke, and he’s piggybacking me up the stairs,” he said. “Just different things like that where, them doing it is now motivating others. And because they’re doing this now, I know they’ll do it throughout the rest of their live for others.”

The family will start their bike trip at Mt. Bachelor — the same place where Nathan broke his neck almost 16 years ago.

“I’ll admit, it still frustrates me sometimes that I don’t get to do things the way that in my mind I pictured it, that I wanted it to be my whole life,” Nathan said.

“I have to make new dreams. … And it won’t be the same — and it shouldn’t be the same. It can still be just as rewarding, though.”

Source: https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/meridian-family-touched-by-paralysis-will-ride-k-miles-to/article_3d9c5894-5c74-5b81-aaa6-3deeb30b69a7.html

Read more

Wright Words: Twice-paralyzed Boise man learning to soar again

Seniya, Kyler, Heather, Nathan, Malani and Cortlyn Ogden pose for a family portrait in 2014.  Photo Credit: Alecia Dawn Photograph

On Dec. 22, 2001, Nathan Ogden stood at the top of a steep ski slope in beautiful Bend, Oregon. The morning mountain air smelled like Christmas.

On this glossy, travel-magazine morning, Ogden raced down the mountain and launched himself off a large jump more than 30 feet into the air. He’d spent years soaring above the snow, but this time something was different. Ogden caught more air than expected and slowly rotated backward, slamming onto the slope.

He asked his body to stand, but his legs didn’t listen. Ogden would soon learn his neck wasn’t just broken — it was shattered.

Still, despite long odds, even there on the side of a ski slope, he knew one day he would walk again.

Nathan Ogden after his skiing accident in 2001.  Photo Credit: Heather Ogden

Over the next few months, this married, Latter-day Saint father of a little boy and girl determined that a broken neck did not necessarily have to mean a broken spirit. While the doctors were doubtful he would walk again, he threw his soul into rehab and remained confident.

Gradually, sensation returned to his legs and feet and despite still being in a wheelchair, he could tackle many of life’s daily tasks for himself.

Doctors called his progress “miraculous.” But it wasn’t fast enough; he wanted more. Ogden worked tirelessly for a year to regain use of his arms and hands. He even began to move his legs, and though he wasn’t yet walking, it was enough to convince him that he one day would.

As hope continued to gather downhill momentum, Ogden had no idea he was racing toward an even bigger obstacle.

Though he’d regained 50 percent of his body movement, he still struggled with internal issues even tougher to treat. On Feb. 4, 2003 — 13 months after the accident — Ogden caught pneumonia and fell unconscious in his sleep. When his wife couldn’t wake him, she called 911 and he was rushed to the ER. Still unconscious, doctors decided to X-ray his lungs. That’s when the unthinkable happened.

Technicians dropped him to the floor.

Additional X-rays told a horror story no one could believe. Incredibly, for the second time, Nathan Ogden had a broken neck. This time, the break was higher up, and he was now permanently paralyzed.

All the hard work, all the hours of rehab — all of it had crashed on the floor with him.

I recently met this inspiring man when we shared the stage at a conference in Boise, Idaho. He has an electric smile, bright eyes and a quick sense of humor. He also has no use of his hands, very little of his arms and zero sensation from the chest down.

After hearing his stunning story, I asked him what went through his mind when he awoke and learned his neck was broken — again. “The first words I said to my wife when she told me were, ‘Bring it on.’ I knew that if I had done it once, I could do it again.”

Ogden concedes it was much easier said than done. “Even though I tried hard to always be positive over the next few years, I experienced some pretty low times. I had fought so hard to progress to that point, only to have it ripped out from under me.”

He speaks of the challenges of feeling mentally trapped. “I desperately tried to be a good father and husband, but I slipped into depression and denial. How will I ever achieve anything now? What am I worth to anyone? I lost my job, friends, self-esteem and almost my marriage. Being physically paralyzed is extremely difficult, but not moving mentally is painfully worse.”

Over time, Ogden realized he needed to heal his spirit first. The only way he could was to lean on Jesus Christ. “While in the hospital, and then throughout my home, I’ve had pictures of the Savior. In my lowest of times and most painful and debilitating health, I have looked at those images and thought to myself, ‘As intense and grueling as this is, I know it’s nothing compared to what our Redeemer suffered. I can get through this.’”

That attitude, Ogden says, taught him to feel more compassion and empathy towards others than he’d ever experienced.

Though he continues to progress physically and spiritually, Ogden still has challenging times. “When I’m really down, I pray for strength. Strength that I can fulfill the mission I was sent here to accomplish. I fully believe that I accepted this challenge before I came to Earth and that I was sent here on a special mission to take this challenge and magnify the positive results. This is a great motivation for me to push on and not given in. It can also weigh down on me wondering if I’m doing enough.”

Ogden is grateful for God’s grace throughout his ordeal, but he’s also quick to credit someone else. “We all know God never gives up on someone, but we tend to forget about the spouses or caregivers. My wife, Heather, has always been my anchor, my motivator, my coach, my reality check, my best friend and my angel here are Earth. I am nothing without her.”

His children have also played a critical role. After the second injury, they were blessed with two more daughters. Miraculously, Ogden has been able to baptize all four. Seniya, Kyler, Malani and Cortlyn are not just the apple of his eye, they’re the reason he fights the daily battle against adversity.

With his wife and children surrounding and supporting him, Ogden has since been skydiving, river rafting, hunting, snow skiing, water skiing and even completed a half-triathlon. To support his family, he’s venturing into consulting and public speaking and is writing a book to inspire as many as possible to believe in his two favorite words: hope and progress.

“You must have hope and progress in this life. Usually, it’s a hope for progress. If you have these two elements, I believe you will find happiness, success and peace. Without them, you can become mentally paralyzed, crippling your opportunities of moving forward. That forward progress is what generates a firm confidence and self-esteem. No, I can’t choose to move my legs and walk, but I can choose to stand up and face my fears. So can you.”

With that kind of attitude, it’s no surprise that Ogden is back on top of the mountain. And while he might never leave the wheelchair in this life, his spirit is soaring higher than his legs could ever take him.

Jason Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including “Christmas Jars” and “The Wednesday Letters.” Learn more at jasonfwright.com, or connect on Facebook at facebook.com/jfwbooks or by email at jwright@deseretnews.com.

Source: https://www.deseret.com/2015/7/21/20568732/wright-words-twice-paralyzed-boise-man-learning-to-soar-again#nathan-ogden-after-his-skiing-accident-in-2001

Read more