After a long wait, I was finally able to shoot the final chapter in my documentary “Inspire”, and by doing so, I’ve completed my person quest to perform all of the sports I was able to do before losing my leg to a below the knee amputation. On October 15th of 2016, I traveled to West Virginia with friends and participated in this year’s Bridge Day BASE jumping festival. There I made my first BASE jump in over 12 years, but more importantly, it was my first jump since losing my leg. It felt amazing!
Even though I practiced performing back-flip layouts into a foam pit, I could never be truly certain how things would go with the prosthetic during the jump. There was certainly an unknown level of risk, but because I’d previously made several skydives with the prosthetic, I was willing to chance it.
The New River Gorge Bridge is 876 feet high and made for a perfect backdrop for the film and my jump. But as always, nothing is perfect. It turns out that my parachute took a long time to open, and then it opened facing the wrong direction, or what we call a “180”. It took a few extra precious seconds to get the parachute back under control and headed in the correct direction, and once I did I was faced with yet another obstacle. The winds had been calm all day and reaching the designated landing area shouldn’t have been a problem. But on my jump, an unexpected headwind appeared out of nowhere which impeded my flight to the landing area. Unfortunately, I landed in the water. The water rescue team promptly pulled me from the river and took me to shore, soaking wet. Although I didn’t land on shore like I had hoped, I did land safely and that’s what is most important.
It’s now time to start editing the hours and hours of footage that I’ve shot over the past few years. I will start reviewing the different camera angles and look for the right videos that best tell my story. My final goal is to produce an inspirational documentary that is both entertaining and inspirational. There are so many people in the world that are mentally lost due to injury or amputation - or who are just going through a difficult time in life. I know because I’ve been there. I hope to inspire them and show them that with the proper attitude, they can overcome anything. I’m not advocating that people take on the challenges that I have, I just want to give them hope that if an “old” guy like me can do all these different sports, then they can surely find the strength to get up off the couch and start exploring what makes them happy.
I’m now off to the edit suite. While I’m editing the film (which can take a long time!), feel free to check out some of the videos that are already posted on the Inspire website. You’ll gain some insight into how I’ve managed to overcome many of the obstacles that tried to stop me from regaining my full mobility - and my life - after amputation.
And last, thank you for your wonderful comments and support that I've received during this project. They mean so very much to me.