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Episode # 536   Sidney Reeves - Surviving Against the Odds (Part One)

About The Episode:

Has a life-changing event left you feeling heartbroken or hopeless? If you’re dealing with grief or any form of emotional adversity, today’s episode of The Inspiration Show is a beautiful reminder to never give up - and that life does get better. Joining me today is Sidney Reeves, an extraordinary man who experienced extraordinary grief when an accident involving a drunk driver took both the life of his girlfriend, and his mobility. But what he did next triggered a series of events so extraordinary, even Oprah invited him on her show. This conversation left me in tears - and is a moving reminder of why life is always worth fighting for.

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Episode # 536 Sidney Reeves - Surviving Against the Odds (Part One)

NL: Hi everyone! My name is Natalie Ledwell and this is the Inspiration Show. Today on the show I have a very special and extraordinary guest. He was actually referred to me through one of the members in our Ultimate Success Masterclass Program. With the Inspiration Show not only do we have gurus and authors, but we also have ordinary people that have overcome extraordinary challenges that have truly inspiring stories and that’s exactly who my guest is today. But before I introduce who my special guest is, I want to remind you that if you are watching this show live on Facebook or later on, on our YouTube channel, don’t forget that after the show is over if you click the link below this video, take my 30-second quiz so I can figure out what’s holding you back from success. So please let me introduce my special guest today, Sidney Reeves. Hi Sidney, How are you?

SR: I’m really good. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

NL: It’s a pleasure to be chatting to you today. Now Sidney and I have actually had quite a few chats before the show and like I said, his story is exceptionally inspiring and it is a true testament to how, when we really put our minds to something and we can visualize and we really believe that we can create something in our lives, we can overcome any challenge. So Sidney, I think your story kind of starts back when you were playing sports, and you felt like you’re on top of the world, things were going amazing for you. So tell us a little about that time in your life and then what happened after that.

SR: Okay. My junior year of high school, my mother, she got diabetes and I was helping her do insulin shots and check her blood sugar and so forth. And she lost her legs and so I was inspired to pursue medicine and go on to college and try and play sports and become a doctor. I got to the University of Utah as a freshman. I did graduate early. I did 3rd and 4th grade in one year, you know I had some smarts working for me and I was accepted in the University of Utah as a freshman. I knew that I would have to get bigger and faster. So I played rugby for Highland, which is the same movie Forever Strong, you know that same movie. Same setting, I was running hills, bleachers, playing sports, lifting weights, doing martial arts, all kinds of things and I joined the fraternity Sigma Chi and the fresh light the summer before my sophomore year, I was dating a girl named Marcela. And Marcela, she came to Utah from Colorado to play sports at Weber State. So we were dating and training. She was trying to try out for basketball and volleyball and it was the night before my sophomore year was to begin that I went to her home and we went for this jog.

NL: Right. So you went for a jog?

SR: Yes.

NL: Okay and what was significant about this particular jog?

SR:   Well, so what happened was, you know, and I do have to share some of the spiritual sides of the story with you. She had talked to me about my religion I was LDS at the time and preparing for a mission. So I shared some information with her about my opinion at that time of the afterlife and so forth, which was, ended up being kind of strange later on but…so we stretched out, she read a poem to me, we had some of her famous Kool-Aid and we went for a jog and we were just talking about all of our goals in life - what we wanted to do and how excited we were to play sports in college. And so we’re jogging, just wasn’t very far, it was about a country mile. We jogged down to a stop sign, we turned around and we were heading back to her home. When we got two blocks from where she lived, we were hit by a drunk driver.

NL: So you were on this, you’re basically on the side of the road, you get hit by this driver. So what happened to you and what happened to both of you?

SR: So we were jogging single file and Marcela was hit first. This was a, you have to know, this was a very large vehicle, a Lincoln Continental and she was hit first, I was hit second and I was knocked out for a moment. I came to and it was very dark, very cold. I was crawling trying to find her and I could see brake lights ahead of me. The driver pulled over for just a moment and then he did a U-turn and came back at us. So I don’t know if we were hit twice, I don’t know what happened at that point. I put my head down because I felt as if I was a goner.

NL: Right. And so okay. So you’re on the side of the road, you don’t know what’s going on. So what happened next?

SR:  So one thing is I could feel an excruciating, indescribable amount of pain in my legs and I don’t know why and the driver, he tried to escape. He was scared. He proceeded to do a hundred and twenty miles an hour and he was head-on in oncoming traffic. And then it was sort of like a bunch of events happening at the same time, like the movie “Crash” you know, you throw a pebble into the lake and there’s a ripple effect, all these lives started to change all at once. Marcela’s life ended. She went through the windshield. So this car had no windshield. Her body hit the windshield and went over the top of the car and she broke her neck and was killed instantly and I didn’t know that ‘til a lot later. The driver was going, trying to escape, and he ran a young lady off the road named Rochelle Johnson. Rochelle Johnson came back on the road, and as she proceeded east on 2550 North she saw a shoe, a sock and realized that this car had hit two people. And so she went around our bodies and she made eye contact with a young man named Billy. He was 16 he had just got off work at Stop and Shop and he was sitting there in shock in this white truck staring at our bodies. Billy and Rochelle made eye contact. She went around our bodies, like I said, and on to 7-eleven and got a police officer who then came to the scene. At that point in time Billy was gone and not to be heard of again for a long time. The officer said to Rochelle, “You work on the young man, I’m gonna work on the young lady here.” So that’s when I kind of came back and I heard my name and it was Rochelle saying it’s gonna be okay. She was holding my hand and she said it’s gonna be okay, she asked me my name and just reassured me that everything was all right, help was on the way. So I heard, then heard sirens and they started to work on me, and she was, you know, released to go home. So a lot of things were happening all at once.

NL: Right. So they get you to the hospital. I’m sure that they’re working on you, so you know, you come to and what was the prognosis that they gave you?

SR:   So I had compound fractures of my tibia and fibula, both of the bones in my lower legs, and they actually took some bone fragments from the scene of the accident and put back in my leg and at that point they didn’t know if I was gonna walk again --- what was going to happen with all these things [inaudible words] it was so badly broken. And again, you know, Marcela’s life was taken and they chose to put us in separate hospitals. They felt it would be too traumatic for me at that time to process that so…

NL: Right. And so what was the actual injuries that you sustained?

SR: Compound fractures of both legs, both tibia and fibula, open fractures yes, so…

NL: Okay. So they’re telling you that they’re not sure whether you’re gonna walk again?

SR: Yeah. They’re saying that, you know, these are really bad injuries. Should be okay but we don’t know for sure, let’s just see how they heal and they just, you know, rushed me in for surgery and they put what’s called, and I have these with me, these are tibia nails so one was in the left tibia or shin bone motors in the right and that’s, I was in a wheelchair and waiting for these bones to hopefully heal.

NL: Right. And so did they?

SR: My left side actually, I was 5 foot 11 at that time, I have a 6-foot wingspan. My dad was really tall, my brothers tall. Anyway, so I was headed for six feet and then my left tibia slipped. It slipped and it healed in an overlap manner which was good because it was strong. And so I was able to start walking on my left leg, but the right leg got a nasty infection and so they pulled all the hardware out and they put this external fixator on my right leg and it started and that’s how t I have to do dressing changes but with the right leg. It was pretty crazy. I had antibiotics in my arm. I was constantly putting my leg in an oxygen tent. I was really battling this infection with antibiotics and dressing changes and it just got out of control. And so that’s when I went into this spiral of one experimental surgery after the other to try and save my right leg from amputation.

NL: Right. So how are staying positive, or were you staying positive for this entire time?

SR: Always. Always. After the accident I was in denial and I had these two goals, you know. Make the football team and serve my church. So I started practically talking to the nurses to take me to the weight room in the hospital and she’s like okay I’m gonna let him do this. So we were in there and I’m trying to work out and realizing that it’s just not the right time or place. It was really frustrating but I had to just shift my goals to walking again versus, you know, my college football trial sort of thing. So friends were very supportive, family and I had to just hunker down and realize this was gonna be a long road and take it one surgery at a time.

NL: Right. So, and I believe that like one of the surgeries or one of the ideas was to actually, like, needle your legs together at one stage. Is that what happened. Yeah?

SR: Yes, yes. The doctors in my hometown referred me to the University of Utah and they started some bone stretching. This is the first bone stretcher they put on my leg and what they wanted to do was close a gap in my leg about six inches. So I had this bone stretcher and once they got the two bone endings back together the issue was how to get blood to the bone. So they came up with this idea  from actually a surgeon from New Zealand, Dr. Pete and Dr. Pete said this old procedure used to do we would take one part of the body and sew it to another part to receive blood circulation. So that’s what they did. They actually sewed my left leg to my right leg and I had to sit for three months, hopefully the blood was making it across the bridge and given this bone the circulation that needed to heal.

NL: Are you in pain the entire time, all these surgeries and all this is happening?

SR: Yes. Was very painful, especially bone stretching because the pins that go through the bone stretcher were actually ripping through my flesh slowly over time. I had to turn up at the wrench much like the concept of braces and moving teeth requires. Very painful. I stayed active. Fitness was always there for me, my best friend. And so you’ll see pictures of me riding the stationary bike, riding my mountain bike, going swimming with this thing on and I was driven. I became driven to come back and walk again, you know, and run again.

NL: Right. So tell me what’s actually going through your mind, like, what are the thoughts that you’re thinking that give you the strength to get up and exercise and do all these things when you’re in so much pain in your body’s trying to heal?

SR: One of the things is really powerful with staying in the moment and so you do things in the moment to distract your mind. For example, silly things like my friends would come over, we would hang a sheet on the wall and have a basketball hoop in my room and the ball would roll back to me and then I would call him up and say come over I’m ready to play, you know, and then they would come over and we would play these games of course and we’ll pick just in the room. Things like my natural father, he flew in from California, he lived with me and my adoptive father during the time when my legs were sewn together. We played chess together, we played dominoes and so just distractions that were fun and positive, you know. I started studying Deepak Chopra, Anthony Robbins and using quite, like visualization techniques and dealing with the pain. Actually getting to know it and figure out what it is and avoiding, you know, pain meds. So those kinds of things, yes.

NL: Yeah. And I’m assuming that the people that you surrounded yourself with were very important to be able to help you with your healing recovery as well?

SR: Absolutely. Like I said, my friends and family were key in my recovery. The other thing was there was a lot of, you know, positive energy put out there for me through prayers and what not and, but it all started in my mind, just never letting go of the visualization of me running on the beach with both of my legs, you know and making those visualizations as real as possible. Right before I had my legs sewn together, I took a trip to San Diego with a friend. I got out of the car, crutched it down to the beach with this thing on my leg, took my shoes and sock off , put my foot in the sand and that moment became very powerful. My foot in the sand and how did that feel and how important was it for me to save my leg. So at that point I took a picture of the beach, the seagulls, the waves crashing, the smells, as real as possible, every detail. I took that picture back and I said let’s do this strange surgery that is, sew my legs together. It’s whatever we got to do, and thankful that I had an option to actually do something and not just amputate the leg.  So I kept holding on to the visualization of I’m gonna run again. And I went back in the end after I defeated all the surgeries and came out. It’s successful and I ran on that beach, you know, with my legs, and so it was real. The manifestation was real.

NL: Yeah well ,you know, as you know, here at Mind Movies we teach a lot about visualization and the most senses that you can bring into that, the more real it means to your subconscious mind. But it really doesn’t know the difference. It believes that you can run again. That you can live this life. Now we’ve got to the end of our 15 minutes, but we’re only halfway through this story and so we’re going to record another show. So if you’re watching this show I want you to come back next week to watch the second half of this, because when you find out Sidney’s story, like his childhood and his upbringing, where he came from, and for him to still have this positive mindset and to find out what he’s actually doing now today, despite you know, all the injuries and everything that he went through, it’s absolutely mind-blowing. So I recommend that you come back next week for the second half of this show. So Sidney, in the meantime, where can we send people that want to connect with you or you know do you have an online website we can send them to?

SR: So yeah. I just like people to reach out through my YouTube Channel, to actually watch my story on YouTube, the story of Sidney Reeves. There’s a very nice new segment Ninja Hopeful and also just do Facebook and Instagram right now you know would be the best place to reach me.

NL: Right. We’ll make sure that the link is either below this video or on the banner to the side so we can send them there. So guys I encourage you to share this video. You can do that by clicking the Facebook and the Twitter share buttons on this page. And make sure you click through and find out more about Sidney’s story which is just like I said absolutely mind-blowing. And make sure that when the show is over that you click the link below so you can take my 30-second quiz so we can figure what’s holding you back from success. So until next week, remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We’ll see you soon. 

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