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Friends & Family Friday=Inspiration

Meet Cousin Ethan Parmer An Inspiration To Me

Yes, Ethan is cousin by marriage but he has always treated me as close family right off. He began as a babysitter for oldest and then both boys. The boys absolutely fell in love with him and at their young ages, idolized him:) Now as young men, he sets the perfect example of no matter what life throws at you, dreams can be reached and never let anyone tell you otherwise. Anything is possible with the strength of your body, mental mindset along with the right individuals that love you.

Now, this is not one about epilepsy but one about having strength and resilience to a very unexpected hurdle just when he was graduating college. (He now has various BS/MS/PHD). It is one that shows it doesn't matter if your hurdle is visible or invisible we all can support each other.

By the time of Ethan's accident we had moved, and couldn't support him right there. Daily the boys would ask about him and I prayed daily for his strength as well as healing.

Now Ethan may not realize it but days that I am having trouble believing that I am strong enough, I think about him and what he has taught our family. Ethan you ARE inspiring!

Read On About Ethan's Journey In His Own Words.

Describe what happened and how it felt when you had your life change in a matter of seconds? - On July 4th, 2013, I dove off of a dock into a lake and broke several vertebrae in my neck causing a severe spinal cord injury. Once my vertebrae were broken, I was completely paralyzed from the neck down while floating face down in the water. The initial panic that set in was extremely overwhelming since I was unable to move at all. After a few minutes of being disoriented in the water, I drowned. From that point on everything was a blur. I was pulled from the water and resuscitated. I really still didn't understand what was happening. I was rushed to the hospital where surgery was performed to stabilize my neck. After being sedated for a few days, I woke up and everything that had happened to me started to set in. Needless to say that all of the negative emotions and feelings flooded my brain for weeks after that. I had so much fear, anger, and sadness running through me wondering how I was ever going to live with any semblance of normalcy in my day to day life. Until one day, I finally decided that I needed to put in the work to give myself the best shot at a life I could... and that's exactly what I did. In your "new life" what did you have to do physically and mentally to live in a positive way each day that came at you? Did things change in your physical environment in order for safety and or socially in order for you to live your best life? - Being completely paralyzed from the chest down now several months after my initial injury, I knew I had to put in a lot of hours in physical therapy or at the gym. There was a lot of muscle atrophy that had occurred while I was recovering, and I needed to gain some strength back to move around independently. Along with the physical changes to my body, I also had to change my environment to suit my needs for independence. I had to change my home with many modifications such as ramps, larger doorways, and many other modifications. -I tried to stay busy with a lot of mental tasks throughout the day to keep my mind off of the negative thoughts of my situation. Now, I still have some bad days just like everyone else, but I try to focus my mind on activities throughout the day to keep those bad days to a minimum. It really helped that I have a great group of friends that still wanted to hang out with me even though my injury can cause some difficulties. It was important for my mental health to still be socially active and not shut myself off from the world. This showed me that I can still be active and have fun in social situations without extreme anxiety. Overall, having a positive mindset and not sweating the small stuff is what keeps my mental health on track. A combination of both physical and mental exercise is very important to live a positive life when dealing with any sort of major life change. What are some things you accomplished that you feel might not have happened if your life didn't drastically change? - I would have never gone back to school to get my degrees, and I would have never met my lovely wife.

Did/do people look at you differently now in the public eye? Also any comments others should not say or should say to someone who has a visible hurdle like yours? - People still look at me differently almost any time I go out. I think it's mostly because people aren't used to interacting with someone in a wheelchair. This used to bother me initially. Now, I'm comfortable enough with myself where it isn't a problem for me. -I would recommend that any able bodied individual should just treat someone in a wheelchair just like anyone else. If you see someone struggling, you should always ask if they need help before just jumping right in.

Anything you want to add or share with others who might be having hurdles occur in their life and help them? - The initial change and transition can be difficult. It is important to have a positive mindset and be driven to succeed in your situation. You can still make a great life for yourself. All you need to do is be willing to put in the work.

As you can see Ethan has reached much since the accident, and didn't let anything hold him back and still keeps striving daily with his wife and daughter. I hope his past and current journey inspired you as much as he does our family.


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diana
Aug 26, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Ethan has so much wisdom to share as a result of the challenges he has overcome. Having a positive mindset, not sweating the small stuff and asking first before helping others who are struggling are excellent guidelines for being our best selves. Thank you for sharing!

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Marissa DeVaul Parmer
Marissa DeVaul Parmer
Aug 31, 2023
Replying to

Yes, I don’t think he realizes how much his inspiration has helped me and continues to do so on my challenging days. I hope his journey can help others as much as it helps me. Agree, he is wise beyond his years.

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