It was awesome! Adam and Mike reflect on the first retreat here!
Today I want to introduce you to one of the Forge retreat attendees, Kelly Wood, and share his Story of Hope. This was reposted from www.friendsofbethany.com
An Amputee Inspired to Serve: Meet Kelly Wood
On the morning of July 10, 2019, Kelly Wood was riding his motorcycle to his new job in downtown Dallas unaware of what changes were about to happen. Moments later, he was caught in a seven-car pileup where his left leg was caught between a car and his bike. After a day of surgeries, the decision was made to amputate Kelly’s leg above the knee.
At first, the greatest challenge for me was letting go of what I thought my life would be if I didn’t lose a leg.
“I missed running and certain activities that really require both legs and I also found that it took more work for me to perform simple everyday tasks. Most everything became a lot easier with time, practice, determination, and consistency.”
Remarkably, Kelly immersed himself in recovery and healing. Kelly decided that he was not going to let an awful accident bring him down to the ground, instead he is pushing through the new challenge that is put before him. He has competed in two Spartan races, snowboarded, and surfed with the attendees at our first Forge Men’s Retreat in Kauai (watch highlight video). “I stood up on a surfboard on my very first wave,” Kelly reflects excitedly. “They helped me do things that I thought weren’t possible, and to deal with and accept what has been put in our lives [as amputees] and learn how to use it for the greater good.”
Joyfully Serving Others
With the recent COVID-19 crisis, Kelly is now focusing his energy and momentum on helping children in his home state of Texas. “I will go where God takes me,” he says. “And I am currently running a COVID Hunger Relief Effort… my team and I have packed and delivered over 47,000 meals to youth and families in need! Our program is focused on providing food for the youth that would normally receive government provided meals through the school system. Many of our youth [have since gone] back to school but we still feed over 100 youth daily that are learning remotely! We love our families and know that Christ has called us to be his light unto the community!”
Service has been a key part of Kelly’s life since he was young. “Probably the best core practice that brings me joy is serving others,” he reveals. “Since I was 12, I began serving others and my life has been filled with so many great experiences and truly genuine people. I love the people that I serve and could not imagine a different life.”
His work began at a mission in his hometown. “This really helped me to see Christ’s heart and learn how he would have loved and cared for his flock,” he shares. “He went the distance for us to have this life, how could I waste it? I have lived my life inspired by the Love and Hope that Christ brings, and I strive to be more like him daily.”
Kelly’s faith played a major role in his recovery from his accident as well.
From my faith’s perspective, I just felt peace and hope. I knew God could still use me even if I only had one leg.
Kelly has become a huge advocate for Limb Loss Awareness Month (April) as well. “To me, it’s a celebration of survivors,” he explains. “It’s recognizing a group of humans that have endured trauma and saying, “We see you!” And I have met so many great people in the amputee community, so I think it is a great thing to raise awareness of the journey.”
Through his journey, Kelly has had a great many supporters and practices that have helped him heal and persevere. “I think the biggest things that made a difference was faith and my community,” he begins. “The kids and my church family at my outreach organization helped me to be strong and understand that my new journey is all a part of God’s plan! They never treated me differently.”
Kelly has also been supported by Wiggle your Toes, Team Catapult and Martin Bionics Clinical Care. These organizations helped him mentally, physically, and spiritually face and overcome the challenges of becoming a new amputee. Martin Bionics made it possible for Kelly to receive his new leg quickly, and the others gave grants that paid for his running leg!!
Gratitude and focus are important to Kelly. “I am blessed to have a very close group of family and friends that keep my spirits up and my mind focused on asking ‘what’s next?’ not ‘why did this happen to me?’.”
Seeing Bethany overcome losing a limb and get back to life helped me to know I could too.”
Kelly knew Bethany’s story before his accident. “I had watched Soul Surfer and had always admired Bethany,” he shares. “When I got into my accident and found out there was a possibility that I would be losing a limb I thought about her story. I wasn’t afraid because I knew life wouldn’t be over. Seeing Bethany overcome losing a limb and get back to life helped me to know I could too.”
Next on Kelly’s agenda is competing for a spot on the National ParaSnowboarding and ParaSurfing teams, and to get a running leg soon so he can begin training. “My long-term goal is shooting for a spot on the Paralympic team,” he envisions. “Possibilities inspire me, and I am so enamored by the thought of all the things to come! I have big dreams and aspirations, and the thought of accomplishing those goals helps to keep the drive alive.”
Isn’t it amazing to see what God can do with a willing heart!
p.s. Friends of Bethany’s mission is to provide amputees and people born with a limb difference the hope, resources, and inspiration to overcome. Through our programs, retreats, and care packages, we are building a community that supports one another and reaches out to more and more people each year.
We love bringing you Stories of Hope and introducing you to some of the incredible women I get to meet through my Friends of Bethany annual Beautifully Flawed retreat.