The Story behind Go The DistanceÖ
Paul Scherdell was a typical 21 year old. And, as is true with most 21 year
olds, his daily life centered around physical activity.
From carpentry to basketball to motorcycles, life at 21 was all fresh, all
adventure, and carried some element of risk.
That risk became real far sooner and with far greater consequence than Paul
would ever have imagined. On October 9, 1987 Paul was in a serious motorcycle
accident. After a life threatening rescue, he found himself in a hospital bed
with no feeling in his arms or his legs Ė and no hope of recovering their use.
He was quadriplegic for life and his world had without understatement,
Paulís accident began an odyssey of agony. For the next eight months he occupied
a hospital bed. In between physical and occupational therapy, Paul learned how
dependant he was. He found that every single thing he had previously done for
himself now had to be done for him. He discovered that his old friend, his body,
was not only his worst enemy now ó it was his jail.
His wheelchair was the sole key to mobility, and it provided only limited
respite from the confinement of his bodily prison. Unfortunately, it provided no
respite from the prison his mind was creating.
Indeed, the most significant obstacle to Paulís recovery was fear. It took many
forms: terror of living without movement, horror at the loss of control, dread
at how people would react. In fact, FEAR became the pervasive force in Paulís
The panic and fright were so deep that they prevented Paul from, first, leaving
his hospital room, then from leaving the hospital, and finally from leaving his
home to venture into public places. This psychological prison lasted not for
days or months, but for many years.
Paul however did not slide quietly into darkness. Through counseling and the
love of friends and family, he slowly discovered that his spirit had only been
temporarily broken, not permanently paralyzed. That wisdom allowed him to
finally accept his condition.
Spirit and acceptance also unlocked Paulís mind. Over the next several years he
began to discover what he could do rather than what he could not. Courage helped
him master computer skills using a Macintosh and a mouse manipulated with his
head. Strength let him discover a musical talent previously dormant. Valor
helped him open the door of his apartment and venture out into the world, fully
embracing the reaction of others, whether good, bad, or indifferent.
Paulís recovery is complete. In his mind, however, his redemption will not be
complete unless he leaves a legacy. A legacy that documents the trials of the
journey and the triumph of the spirit. It must help the non-disabled to
understand the life and challenges of the disabled.
Most importantly, it must provide a model of hope for those victims of
catastrophic accident who still live the fear and can barely fight the terror.
Paulís Legacy is GO THE DISTANCEÖ