EDMONTON — This is the time when we look back at the year that was, and think about how to make the new year better. Craig Scott wants you to know: every day can be your best day.
The Edmonton realtor was on a motorcycle trip in a remote area of Utah, when he missed a turn in the road. He ended up face down in the tall grass of Goshen Canyon.
“I was just in extreme pain,” recalled Scott. “I was holding onto some grass in front of me and screaming as hard as I could.”
Scott suspected his legs were paralyzed. He prayed to die.
“I was saying, ‘God, please just take me. Take me now, take me quickly.'”
But as the hours dragged on, alone in the brush, Scott switched his focus to the parts of his body he could move.
“I realized that my hands worked, so I could still play the guitar, still work the keyboard… drink a beer,” laughed Scott.
“I thought about why I really wanted to live.”
Soon after, Scott heard a motorcycle stop.
Wade Sanders left work early on that warm spring that day to go for a ride. The police detective pulled over to adjust his new helmet, when he noticed skid marks on the road, and something moving in the grass, down a steep embankment.
“(I saw) a little branch,” recalled Sanders, “a willow tree branch, moving back and forth.”
By the time Sanders made it down the hill, Scott could barely breathe. He was airlifted to hospital, and spent months recuperating from a perforated lung and several broken ribs. His legs never did recover. Scott has paraplegia.
“I was happy that I had been discovered,” said Scott, “I was OK with the fact that I was paralyzed.”
“It could have been much worse.”
Last New Year’s Eve, Scott finally felt strong enough, physically and emotionally, to call his rescuer. They chatted for nearly an hour.
“It was kinda funny – almost like a reunion,” said Sanders. “He was in such good spirits for going through what he went through. It was just amazing.”
Scott recently visited Sanders at his home in Utah, to thank him in person. They also went to the crash site, so Scott could understand exactly what happened on that fateful day.
“(Sanders) is probably one of the only guys in the whole world that would have spotted me,” said Scott, “with his background in investigation and being a motorcycle rider.”
“There was just no question that I owed my life to him, and I decided that I owed him a good life.”
Scott volunteers for spinal cord research at the University of Alberta. He also still works as a realtor, plays his guitar, tries to stay fit… and drinks an occasional beer. He is grateful his unexpected path led to a second chance at life, and a new friend.
The detective has learned an important lesson too.
“It’s very uplifting,” smiled Sanders. “Makes you feel like, ‘Wow, you need to be more thankful for what you have.'”
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