“Seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.” That may be easier said than done but it is being done by a young man in Redmond.
Michael Ryan Pattison was an athletic, charismatic, good looking junior at Washington State University in the spring of 2005. He was blessed with a supportive family and a large circle of friends.
On the afternoon of May 28 Michael Ryan and some of those friends were swimming at Lake Chelan. MR dove into the lake, hit his head on a rock and his life changed forever.
The impact caused damage to the C-3, C-4 and C-5 vertebrae, leaving him a quadriplegic with limited movement below his shoulders.
The next six months were a nightmare for MR and his family and friends. “For a long time it was pretty hard,” said MR from his home in Redmond, “I was in a fog from all the narcotics, weighed less than a 100 pounds, I was on the verge of dying a number of times.”
MR had hit bottom. Doctors generally don’t deal in what is called , “false hope,” so MR had to rely on his friends and family to help create “real hope.”
There is an old saying that goes, “It is darkest just before dawn.” MRs dawn was about to come.
“I was lying in a hospital room listening to the auction they were doing for me, the fund raiser. Thousands of dollars were being raised. Then some friends in Woodinville put on a car wash and raised 10-thousand dollars in a single afternoon. I would have never thought my accident would have that kind of impact on other people.”
That day MR began to live again. Since then he has undergone extensive theatment and therapy in Harborview Hospital, Good Samaritan in Puyallup, Craig Hospital in Denver and Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore.
It was at Kennedy-Krieger Institute that MR gained the perspective that led him to his life time goal. “I met a kid named Douglas and he inspired me. He was awarded to the state after his mother, in trying to kill his step dad, shot him in the back of the neck. He was 12 years old and afraid of everyone and everything. I began talking to him and gave him some Match Box cars and we connected pretty well. I think in his life and he definitely made a difference in mine. That’s when I decided to launch an effort to build a clinic like Kennedy-Krieger in the northwest. Right after that we started the “Michael Ryan Pattison Foundation. It is our goal to help as many of the 300-thousand people with spinal injuries in this country as we can.”
You may have seen Michael Ryan at Seahawk games during the past few seasons. He and Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke have become good friends.
“Tod and the Seahawks have been a blessing to me and my family throughout this whole thing,” MR said, “I’ve been a huge fan my whole life and along with everyone in the northwest want to see Tod and team get back to a Super Bowl and win.”
Michael Ryan’s foundation has sponsored a successful golf tournament and auction the past three years and plans another one in 2009.
The financial goal for building a clinic in the pacific northwest is 5-million dollars, a lofty number in the current economy. While some may gripe and complain about their situation in a world filled with challenges, MR Pattison sits up straight in his chair, looks you right in the eye and tells you he will meet his goal.
“Staying strong in our hope and access to the latest restorative therapy is so essential to my everyday life. Finding those individuals who need help and helping them is my mission.”
Michael Ryan’s goal to move on his own again and help countless others keep the faith and hope needed to overcome their challenges is a lesson to us all every day of our lives.
Find out more about Michael Ryan’s foundation, mission and fund raising efforts by logging on to acureiscoming.com.
Tony Ventrella, Seahawks Insider