Last September, a 52-year-old North Carolina man had no idea that when he went out for a bike ride near his home, his life would never be the same.
While Dean Otto was riding his bike, Will Huffman accidentally hit the long-distance runner because his windshield was too foggy to see. Otto was rushed to the hospital, where surgeon Matt McGird explained that not only was his spine in pieces, but his pelvis, tailbone, ribs, and leg were broken as well. Otto was told he had about a 2 percent chance of ever walking.
Yet Otto refused to accept he would never walk or run again. “I’ll run a half marathon with you and I’ll whip ya,” Otto told McGird. During surgery, McGird built a spinal scaffolding with titanium rods and metal ties under Otto’s skin, and then he began his long road to recovery.
But a year later, Otto amazed everyone when he crossed the finish line of the 13-mile Napa Half Marathon with McGird and Huffman, who became a friend after he visited Otto as he recovered in the hospital. “It was great; It was amazing. The whole town was really behind us. I felt such a huge sense of accomplishment. I felt like Matt and I did what we said we were going to do after the surgery,” Otto said.
“I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just part of a plan. I’m doing what is put in front of me. I found out how many people loved me, lying in that hospital room,” Otto added. “You don’t get to see that in life. You might get that kind of crowd at your funeral, but you’re dead and you won’t hear it.”
Watch the entire video below to see the incredible moment this paralyzed man runs across the finish line.
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[Featured image: Inside Edition]