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Port Orange Observer Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 1 week ago

Port Orange man regains strength after accident that left him paralyzed

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Kirk Crandall will once again host the annual Crandall Can Golf Tournament to continue paying for life-changing therapy.
by: Lurvin Fernandez Staff Writer

Every day, Kirk Crandall wakes up at 5:40 a.m. 

He attends classes at Indian State River College and is done by noon. He then spends the remainder of his afternoon training to regain movement in his body. 

Crandall, a 2009 Spruce Creek High School graduate and a former state weight lifting contender, was paralyzed from the chest down after an accident on the morning of Aug. 27, 2012. He had fallen asleep on his way to work when his truck reached a bend. The moment Crandall woke up, he swerved trying to miss a sign causing his vehicle to fishtail before going over a ravine. 

Crandall's truck flipped eight times with the roof eventually coming down on him. He was told by doctors that he should expect to never regain the use of his hands, his arms, his legs because of the spinal cord injury he sustained. 

However, Crandall was determined to prove them wrong.

"I knew from the beginning that I was going to get better," he said. "I feel like I've blown (my doctors) out of the water."

He continued to challenge himself and has slowly gained movement in his hands, arms and strengthened his core. He can do simple things again, such as write math equations on a white board in his room, type and take off his shirt on his own or risk falling over.  

An avid fisherman, he missed the feeling of reeling in his own fish, but finally had enough body control to reel in a snook for the first time in six years. 

"It's nice to have a hobby again," he said. 

He credits his progress to the $32,000 raised at the second annual Crandall Can Charity Golf Tournament. Money raised at the tournament helps pay for weekly therapy, which can cost about $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses each week.

Crandall's therapy is unconventional. He does his weekly "training" at Barwis Methods, where Crandall spends time out of his wheelchair doing strength training. Most recently, he began doing squats and hip raises. He attends therapy for 10 hours each week, in addition to being a full-time student and maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. 

His mother, Shawn Reynolds, said she is amazed by his progress and is happy he can live a normal life again. Crandall and his 24-year-old sister Gabrielle moved to Port St. Lucie together to attend the same college. As she studies to be a nurse, she helps her brother. 

"There was a time when I didn't dream of living more than two hours away from him," Reynolds said. "Now, they're doing it together. They're a team."

As a result, Reynolds, a former teacher at Spruce Creek, said she returned to work for the first time in six years, and it could not have been possible without the support from the community.

Each year, the golf tournament has sold out.

"I'm always a little fearful of doing (the tournament), but the support is almost dumb-founding," Crandall said. "This is a marathon and having everyone for these last few miles has been amazing."

Crandall said though his long days of schooling and therapy are exhausting, he always remembers the people backing him. 

"I can't give up on myself, and I definitely can't give up on the people supporting me," he said.

As for the future, Crandall hopes to continue regaining strength, and he hopes to live a normal life again. He hopes to have a girlfriend soon, continue fishing regularly, have a family in the future and become the chief financial officer of a sports organization.

He also hopes that the tournament continues to draw a lot of attention so that money can one day help others in similar situations. 

The third annual tournament is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 1 at Cypress Head Golf Club, 6231 Palm Vista Dr. in Port Orange. entry costs $100 per player and includes a continental breakfast, golf and range balls, beverages, snacks, luncheon and prizes. To sign up, go to cypressheadgolf.com/crandall. 

 

 

 

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