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Iron Will Marco Villanueva

Iron Will Award Candidate:

Marco Villanueva

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Marco Villanueva:

In the Summer of 2011 I was on my way to Rushing River for a kayaking trip with my best friends! As someone who was very active in basketball and moderate weight lifting, I was also very adventurous! Little did I know that that exact day would be one of the most scariest, bone chilling moments of my life! After a long day of kayaking a friend of mine who had just purchased his first new car seemed very tired so I proceeded to ask him if he wanted me to drive back, Because his car was so new he yawned and said "no thanks". 30 minutes into the drive I ended up falling asleep in the back seat only to wake up to the smell of all air bags being deployed and the vehicle being crushed and in a ditch. To my knowledge, we ended up swerving into the on coming lane just outside the border of manitoba and ontario and ended up hitting a rock at 90 km an hour which then launched the vehicle into the air rolling about 3 times. I woke up in a daze with a off duty nurse screaming "He's awake!!" Asking me if I can move my legs, I couldnt, my first response was my neck really hurts. She then told me I could be suffering from a broken neck and to stay put because I can make it worse. After 45 minutes that felt like hours the fire department attempted to cut the roof off the vehicle because all doors were jammed. Failing to do that, they ended up smashing the back window and pulled me out with a sling underneath my butt. A helicopter then landed in the middle of the highway and I was then air lifted out of there to the nearest hospital. Full of anxiety and tears I was still confused as to what happened. after finally being transported to the health science center in winnipeg I was told that the doctors would do a full scan to see what was causing the pain in my neck. After extensive x-rays I was told that my upper C4 C5 was fractured and they would have to operate to take it out and replace it with a cadaver. I laid in a hospital bed for weeks until surgery where nurses would come everyday to poke my toes and legs to see if there was any improvement. I received visits from all kinds of people which warmed my heart! People I haven't seen in months and even years. The day of my surgery I felt nervous but calm as I knew god was with me that day. After a long 9 hour surgery it was finally done. I woke up in the intensive care unit with a nurse standing over me asking me how I was feeling and instructing me on what to do. She asked me to move my toes, they wiggled. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed! Day by day it got better and better and eventually just after a few weeks the doctors had me on my feet taking my first steps in a couple months! Physio was not that long but I was blessed to make a full recovery. For the next few years I struggled with weight because I was afraid of re injuring my neck but finally made a decision to overcome my fears and compete in a body building show! To this day I look back and tell myself that im thankful for that experience for it has grown me to be the mentally and physically strong person I am today. Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

 

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