My name is Dylan Hulett and I am making this GoFundMe page for Supportive and assisted leg braces, in order to prevent more damage to my knees, my hips and ankles. Here is my story... On November 19th, 2004 I was 15 yrs old when I was riding home in the passenger seat of a vehicle at 2:45 a.m. My brother fell asleep at the wheel, and I was asleep in the passenger seat. We ran off the side of I-70 and hit a rock bluff. The car flipped over and landed back on the highway upside down. I was pinned between the roof and the seat. When I woke up, I was in shock. I did not know what had happened, I saw headlights and heard a tractor trailer horn and then everything went black again. The next thing I knew, I was on the side of the highway, screaming in pain. The only way I can describe it was I felt like I got shot in the stomach with a cannon, because the impact had crushed my spine (T-11 vertebrae). When I re-awoke in the hospital, My dad was sitting there, and I could tell that he was upset. They had me on the bed, strapped down, the bed was tilting back and forth in order to keep pressure off my spine. Nobody knew how to tell me that I was paralyzed from the waist down. They had said that I was not likely to move a toe. I went into surgery and they fused 5 vertebrae with titanium rods, screwed into the bone. After that I was forced to wear a back brace for a couple months. I had to have drainage tubes stitched into my back to prevent fluid buildup after the surgery. When the doctor removed them, he yanked them out without any warning.
I was in the hospital for a week, and then sent me to a rehabilitation center and I was a patient there for a month. After that I was an outpatient for 2 years. I had 2 therapists, one was an occupational therapist, who had to teach me how to live my life in a wheelchair. My other therapist was my physical therapist, who was trying to stretch me and rehabilitate my body after the accident, over the time of being in the hospital and cut open, I was weak. I didn’t have any range of motion, they wouldn’t let sit up at a 90-degree angle because I cracked my pelvic bone in the wreck as well. When I was at home, it was great, but it was also a mess, it’s not what you want at 15 yr. old. My dad had to bathe me, help me go to the bathroom. My dad went through just as much as I did. He had to build special ramps just for me to get into the house. He had to make the bathroom door wider, so I could get in there with my wheelchair. Once it all sunk in, I wasn’t able to skateboard, play football or do anything that I loved to do before. So, I didn’t really hang out with anybody because It was too painful. But, I told myself that I wasn’t going to be stuck in a wheelchair the rest of my life, and I was going to walk. When I saw that first form of movement in my legs, me and my dad decided it was time. Slowly using a walker, I was able to take a couple of steps after a while, over the course of the next year through intense therapy, I was able to walk with a walker, but forced to use a wheelchair at school still. Until one day I decided that I was going to attempt to use the walker. It was really difficult being in high school, It took me twice as long to get to each class than everyone else, so I was always late. I used the walker for a while until one day one of the legs broke on it, and I had nothing else to walk with instead of a cane. So, I used it for a day, a friend of mine walked with me at school, because I was having to hold onto the wall. So I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to use the walker anymore. It took the rest of that year to get used to walking with a cane in order for me to not fall over. I started to get my confidence back.
As of right now, I am 27 yrs. Old, I have a family (married with 2 daughters). My everyday job consists of me bending, kneeling, crouching and lifting, causing more strain on my legs, I have gone through a dozen canes in the past year and replace cane tips weekly because of the amount of walking, and using my cane to get back up from the ground. Being a mechanic is what I love to do, and the way that my legs are deteriorating, it looks as if I will not be able to do that much longer without some sort of supportive device for my legs. I still don’t have complete control over the nerves in my legs, and never will. I don’t have full range of motion. These braces will assist in swinging my legs forward as well as stabilizing side to side motion, which will in turn keep allowing me to do what I love and be able to continue playing with my children for years to come. My children always want me to chase them and play with them, and it’s getting harder and harder every day. The pain prevents me from getting out of bed every morning. In order to cope with the pain, I have to take 20(non-narcotic) pills a day. This GoFundMe page is my last resort to keep my life the way it is and to make sure that I’m able to continue to being the man that I know that I am. I don’t feel like I can be myself if I’m not able to do the things that other people are able to do. I can’t so much as afford the Dr. or the braces alone. Any donation is greatly appreciated more than you know. My family depends on me, and if I can’t support them, then I don’t feel like a man at all.