LAWTON, OK (TNN) - A group of Lawtonians are on a mission to improve the quality of life of a man who suffered a life-changing injury.
“It’s just like having a baby again, except it’s your husband and it’s definitely not what we all planned on,” said Kenneth’s wife, Samara Smart.
A traumatic accident left Kenneth with a life-altering injury.
“I came home. I parked my vehicle,” said Kenneth Smart, suffered rare spinal injury.
“I look out and he’s laying out in the middle of the yard face down,” said Samara.
Kenneth’s heart unexpectedly stopped beating.
“Next thing I knew; I was in the hospital,” said Kenneth.
“At that time we realized he had no feeling from his neck down," said Samara. "He was completely paralyzed at that point. When he fell, he hit his head.”
“When I did that, I hyper extended my neck,” said Kenneth.
“And bruised his spinal cord,” said Samara.
He stayed at Comanche County Memorial Hospital for two weeks before being transferred to the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma City. For the next four weeks he made slight progress through rehab.
“He’s better today than he was when it happened but he’s still quadriplegic," said Samara.
Life for Kenneth and Samara is much different today than it was just three months ago.
"You just learn to live with it and cope and have faith,” said Samara.
And with unexpected change comes unexpected costs.
"I’ve got a hospital bed, a lift to lift me up and put me in my wheelchair,” said Kenneth. “I found a used van up in Illinois. We bought it.”
Samara says friends and family have helped in countless ways.
“I’ve had angels all around me, friends and family," said Samara. "One of our very, very close friends, him, a couple of other guys and our nephews built us a ramp for him to come up and down on.”
“It’s humbling to see in a bad situation how supportive our community really has been,” said Kimberli Burk, Kenneth’s great niece.
Kimberli and her mom are organizing a benefit concert for Kenneth.
“He’s been there for us," said Kimberli. "Anytime we need help. Anyone who has any problem they need fixed everyone calls uncle Kenneth. Not exactly the same way, but whatever it takes. That’s what family is for.”
The proceeds from the fundraiser this Saturday night will help with medical expenses and equipment equipment to help Kenneth have better quality of life. The benefit concert and dance featuring the Chris Caldwell band is will feature a live and silent auction. Admission is free and It will take place at the VFW on 20th street in Lawton from 8 p.m. until midnight.