The story of a man who will not stop doing what he loves
John started working at Coca-Cola in 1983, where he was employed until he was injured. John married his wife, Georgia, in August of 1984. John has two sons, Michael 28 and Patrick 26. Prior to his accident, a typical day for John started at 4 in the morning, rushing home at around 3 or 4, then out again taking the boys to baseball, soccer or whatever activities they where involved in. Most of the time, John was the one coaching their teams. Even in high school, John was involvedwith the sports boosters club to help with events.
On Saturday, May 21, 2011, at 3:15 A.M. John woke up thinking he was late for work. After John figured out he wasn’t going to work, he went down the hall to check on the boys. John then decided to go downstairs, where there he mis-stepped causing him to go into a head first slide (unfortunately he wasn’t on a baseball diamond this time). John then laid at the bottom of his stairs not able to move from the neck down. John was then rushed to the hospital only to be diagnosed as a incomplete C-5, quadriplegic.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
"We were very lucky to end up at Casa Colina rehab hospital. I was surrounded by family and friends. Even though the outlook was bleak I knew I was not alone. We were all in for therapy as every little of movement gave us reason for hope for recovery. The next couple of months we were living in the moment, trying any type of therapy, exercise that would help my recovery. I pretty well knew then I would not be returning to work. My wife and my sister made sure that the bills would be paid. To let me think of the future would only be too depressing. We went one day at a time."
"I was able to receive therapy as an out patient at Casa Colina for 18 months after my injury, this was covered by my insurance. It was at one of the SCI support group meetings that I met Hal Hargrave. It turns out he went to school with my son Michael at the University of La Verne. That is when I first learned about the Be Perfect Foundation and Project Walk. PW gives me a chance to work with trainers who specialize in working with Spinal Cord Injuries. In return I get the opportunity to continue working on my strength and balance. As most of the clients at PW are SCI, we give each other hope as we improve. It is a new friendship of strangers pushing and praising each other through our daily grind."
WHAT JOHN DOES TO KEEP HIMSELF IN RECOVERY
"After about 2 months of my injury, my friends wanted to hold a golf tournament to help us out,” Surina said. "They knew I would not be going back to work and the cost for meds and renovating our house would by high. Their effort was tremendous... as there were over 250 golfers and over $20,000 raised to help us out. Since then, we have had poker, horseshoe and bowling tournaments. Currently, from October to May, there is a "Friends of John Surina" bowling league. Yes, I do bowl an average of 98 still, but I’m still getting better. Even though this all helps us, we do it because my friends enjoy seeing each other. As we get older and start our own families we have a tendency to drift away from our friendship. A lot of people feel bad for my accident, but it has brought a lot of people closer together and a lot of re-connection."
What John is doing now
"Currently I am coaching baseball with my son at Chino High School. I have coached football, but baseball is my first love and I am looking forward to this season. Another thing I have been doing off and on for the last four years is working with 1st and 2nd year Physical Therapy students from APU and Western U. I call myself their guinea pig as they are getting ready for a career as therapists. I am very happy to help them any way I can.”
John is a testament of the model BP Client, who strives to get the most out of his life everyday.
YOU CAN HELP GIVE HOPE TO SOMEBODY LIKE JOHN!