#WiggleYourToes – The Path to Recovery for Orion Owens
On Thursday July 21, 2016, Orion Owens embarked on a moonlit swim with friends in Utah that changed the course of his life and destiny forever. At 22 years old, Orion is an incredibly active underwater/surf filmmaker and photographer, and his friends will show up in droves to tell you that he’s wise beyond his years, positive beyond his circumstance, and a magnet for greatness, kindness and abundance. On that Thursday night, in the moonlight, Orion dove into a freshwater lake, and in an instant, that no one will ever understand or forget, he hit his head on the sandy lake bottom in a way that burst fractured his C6 vertebrae, cracked his C5 vertebrae, and rendered him helpless under water until friends realized that he wasn’t being the playful Grom that they know and love, and instead that he was in grave danger and unconscious under water for 5-7 minutes. Through the grace of higher powers above, Orion’s friends were able to revive him through performing extensive CPR for 10 minutes and immediately getting first responders on-site. Miraculously, within about 6 minutes of resuscitation efforts, Orion was awake, and soon after speaking full sentences with memory of his date of birth on that very beach. Miracle. Pure miracle. Tragically, his friends learned just as quickly that he was numb from the neck down almost immediately after impact under water. He was then immediately taken by medical helicopter to the nearest hospital and his parents received the phone call that no human should ever have to endure.
As Paulo Coelho says, “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
Thanks to free diving lessons that Orion has taken, he says that when he realized he was unable to move under water, he got incredibly calm and relaxed his body to the most meditative, peaceful pace possible. Sentiments like these have left those who love him dumbfounded by his wisdom and knowingness. That calm, courageous demeanor hasn’t left his aura since. In the days since this life-altering experience, Orion underwent a spine stabilizing surgery (technically called a “Corpectomy”) at Ogden Regional Medical Center, has regained movement and sensation from his chest up, and is still awaiting movement and sensation in his feet and legs.
On Thursday July 28, 2016, he is overjoyed to be checking into one of the most world-class spinal rehabilitation institutions in the country – Craig Hospital – and will continue his care and progress just outside of Denver, CO.
There are many more adventures that this loving, talented 22-year-old has in front of him. As Orion would tell you – he’s ready to work hard, to do whatever it takes. And he’s bringing his crystals and lavender with him for continued crystal rock arm pumping!
Given the gravity of this situation and the generosity of our peers, we as Orion’s friends want to raise funds to help him, a young independent adult, to return to the active and creative life that he so passionately had lived. Some of his known and unknown expenses include:
- Current medical expenses and therapy in Colorado
- Optional Treatments not covered by insurance. Ex, Craig supports alternative therapies and Orion heard of an acupuncturist that will come in to help heal his spinal cord.
- Continued outpatient therapy upon returning home to san Diego
- The annual required return trips to Colorado for longterm follow up of his motor and neurological health
- Tools and mobility devices enabling Orion to return home to the active and creative lifestyle that he has so passionately been living such as phone access, screen access, and devices to help Orion return to his love of an extensive list of outdoor sports, editing and filming which insurance may not cover. These may be short-term or ongoing needs.
This devastating accident has also changed the lives of Orion’s family and we would like to provide them with some financial support to offset the expenses they are incurring to be with Orion as his primary advocate and support through this heartbreaking accident. Some of the known and unknown future expenses for Orion’s family include:
- Emergency travel expenses to immediately be at Orion’s side this past week in Ogden, UT.
- Relocating for an estimated 3 months to be an active participant of the family piece of therapy program at Craig Hospital.
- Potential home care assistance for Orion for their relief, as well as mobility devices enabling Orion to return home to San Diego
We would like to establish a fund for Orion #WiggleYourToes for this will be a long journey of healing with many unknowns and outcomes in the months and years ahead.
Most immediately Orion has incurred a $7,000+ out-of pocket expense for his ground and air transportation to Craig Hospital in Colorado from Utah.
While we KNOW that our love will surround Orion EVERY step of the way, we do not know the outcomes ahead and what financial expenses Orion will personally be faced with.
If you have the ability to support our dear friend in this unthinkable time of need, or know someone who can, we want to share the most helpful ways that you can do so:
Write a check payable to: Orion Owens and mail to:
1. Orion Owens
3594 Hartzel Drive
Spring Valley, CA 91977
(100% of your contribution goes to Orion’s Wiggle Your Toes account)
2. Simply make an online donation through YOUCARING
(An average of 3% transaction fee will be taken out for processing.
In addition to financial support and equally as valuable, Orion needs our continued collective positive, healing, energy, intentions and prayers sent his way. Not just this week, not just next, but for as long as we have the loving positivity to send his way.
Although he is facing a long road to recovery, his determination and relentless PERSONAL positivity have inspired everyone around him, from his family, to his friends, to every nurse and doctor that has the pleasure of encountering him. Even the helicopter operators returned to check on him the next day because of his sense of humor and positivity during his 911 flight. “My goal this summer was to shoot photos from a helicopter, but I wasn’t expecting it to be like this!” remarked a miraculously lucid Orion in the air that night ☺
Please watch for updates via this page and his two primary social media platforms:
With love and gratitude,
His Loving Friends