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Hello, and to whom this may concern, thank you.

My name is Andrew Ecker, and 4 years ago on August 20th, 2004 I suffered a broken neck at the hands of a poorly placed sandbar while swimming in the ocean. I was only 17 years old, and a mere 10 days from starting my first year at college. The incident left me with a spinal cord injury and paralyzed from the neck down, with very little chance to ever walk again.

Following being flown to Jefferson, undergoing multiple surgeries, enduring severe spinal shock, seizures, and 3 pulmonary embolisms I began my road to recovery at Magee. Unfortunately for me by this time I was now 18, the road looked long, and my chances of living a normal life seemed slim. Luckily for me, I had not counted on just how spectacular the staff of nurses, aides, physicians, and therapists at Magee were. Terry, Lanae, Anthony (we called him Tange), and Fritz showed me from day one that I was still strong, and that my recovery started with me.

I learned more about myself in my time at Magee than most men and women do in their entire lives. I was able to find strength I didn't know I had, and discover the person I truly was. And when the task seemed too difficult, and failure on the brink, I was lifted up by the loving arms of the people who worked there, my peers, and my family.

Almost 4 full years has passed since I was discharged from Magee. If those same people could only see me now. I was able to attend college the following year, and stayed at my original university of choice (Hofstra, Dr Fried's alma mater) for 3 semesters when I decided that I wanted to become a paramedic. I currently work as a Critical Care technician for Kennedy Health System's SCTU division, and am an Interning Paramedic with Virtua Health MICU. My Paramedic boards are scheduled for this December.

I would never have been able to achieve these goals without Magee. My ambitions are still unfulfilled, as my thirst for knowledge grows stronger everyday. I take what I learned inside the walls of Magee to work everyday, as I try to impact my community in the same manner as which Magee impacted my life.

I have a very hectic schedule, but I am writing this as both a thank you and a request. I am hoping that I can volunteer my time to Magee whenever I can as both a peer mentor, and a member of the "Think First" program. I have been given so much from this institution, and I would really enjoy the opportunity to give something back. Thank you so much in advance.

Andrew Ecker