Much has happened in the life of a Stettler man since he became a quadriplegic in a July 2011 dirt-biking accident.
Most recently, Landon Catt has learned he will be the recipient of the Glen Rose Award of Courage in October. It is an award presented annually by the Glen Rose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton to those demonstrating extraordinary courage during the rehabilitation process.
The 35-year-old has bravely dealt with the life-altering incident with a positive attitude and much determination, and he has helped others in the process, said hospital staff.
“Some patients were pretty hard on the nurses,” Catt said.
“This is the worst thing that ever happened to me — but they didn’t cause it.”
Catt said that after he accepted the implications of his injury, he was determined to make the best of it. His sense of humour helped him become a model patient.
Initially, he had limited use of his arms, but with hard work and dedication to the rehabilitation program, much progress has been made.
Catt surprised doctors by being one of the first patients with his level of injury to be able to return home directly from the Glen Rose rehab centre. Most require a transition period in a hospital.
“Things are going the right way,” Catt said from his Stettler home, which he shares with his fiancée, Allison Ryan.
Catt and Ryan became engaged during his hospitalization at Glen Rose from July to November of last year.
Before the accident, Catt was a salesman at Aspen Ford in Stettler. He has lived in the community for 17 years.
Catt is overwhelmed with the support he has received from the Stettler community.
“Aspen Ford put on a benefit and the support was huge from the businesses and people of the community,” he said.
“If it wasn’t for the benefit, I wouldn’t have been able to come home.”
Catt said the wheelchair ramp and other modifications to the home were completed with funds from the benefit.
“Allison had it all ready when I came home — she has been amazing.”
He said the Town of Stettler’s actions were “quick and helpful,” in lowering a curb outside his property to make it wheelchair accessible.
“I am lucky to be a part of this community.”
Since arriving home, Catt has taken physio and occupational therapy twice a week at the Stettler hospital. He has a care worker stay with him during the day at his home.
He has also converted his garage into an exercise gym, where he does a two-hour workout each day by Velcro-strapping himself to the equipment.
“I am amazed at how far I have come,” said Catt, who’s now able to do more with his arms and has gained upper-body strength.
He said he has regained some feeling in his legs, though they’re numb — like being frozen by a dentist — and he can wiggle his toes a bit.
With some modification, he can operate a computer and finds computer- action games effective hand-eye co-ordination. He’s looking forward to the day he can operate a car with hand controls.
Catt is technically-inclined and has multiple job options in mind for after his rehabilitation.
He has set his sights on being able to stand by next summer.
With Catt’s upbeat personality and relentless determination, nothing seems impossible.
“Life is still good,” he said.