Caragh McManus is David’s tutor. After she started working with David she was inspired to do more to help. She shares her experience here.
My decision to move back to Keene from Boston was a difficult one for me. I was leaving my profession as a corporate accountant to pursue a career in education. I never realized that I would be given the chance to work with one of the most amazing individuals I have ever met. At the start of school I was working as a substitute teacher when an opportunity came about to work with David. The story of his accident had been told to me, but I had never met David personally until I was asked if I would be his tutor. I was extremely happy when David agreed that he would like to work with me. I am not going to lie, I was also a little nervous not knowing much about spinal cord injuries or how his spirit was after the accident.
My nervousness quickly subsided when on my first day with David he decided to pull a prank on me. When I was going to change his brace for lunch I moved his hand to put his thumb in the proper place. He let out a scream that stopped me in my tracks. As he can tell you, I am Irish and turn red in any situation. Needless to say, I turned bright red thinking I had hurt him, and on my first day! I looked at him mortified and realized he had this giant smile on his face and was laughing at me. From that moment on I knew that we would not only work hard in school but would have some fun along the way.
Working with David this past year has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Whether I asked him to work on his homework, solve numerous problems in math, or work on a project, David did it with a smile on his face. My time with David also brought an awareness of spinal cord injuries and spinal cord research. David would come in to school and show me different advancements in science dealing with spinal cord injuries.
This piqued my own interest about the topic, and I decided to donate to the Spinal Cord Research Foundation to do my part in helping find a cure for these terrible injuries. David’s Journey to Recovery site has also given me the opportunity to help out any way I can to further his recovery. Going to his booth during Pumpkin Fest and seeing the community come together to help David made me want to give even more. I started using iGive, which gives a percentage of my online purchases to David, as well as spreading the word about this site to family and friends. The site is wonderful and takes no additional thought other than using it to shop online.
I know that these small acts have helped, but I still wanted to do more for this fantastic, deserving young man. After speaking with David and listening to what he would like to happen, I have decided to put together a 5K fundraiser for him. On August 31st, 2013 at Keene High School, a 5K fun run in honor of David will be happening. We are in the beginning stages of this fundraiser but are going to be working throughout the summer to make this run the most successful it can be.
David has changed my life in so many ways. I try to live every day to the fullest and appreciate all that I have. Working with David has also reaffirmed my decision to move back home and pursue a career in education. Every day I am excited to go to work and help David accomplish his academic goals. I cannot wait to see what he achieves in life, because I know he will do incredible things.
~ Caragh McManus