RESERVE, La. -- It was supposed to be a fun day on the water for an electrician at a company fishing trip. Then, one misstep, from the dock into the boat, changed the young man's life forever.
At the time of the fall, two years ago. Justin Joliboix, 33, was told he'd never walk again.
"I have had times when I've broken down but it's more or less seeing my wife struggle with it, because she still does. She still has some moments," Joliboix said.
These days, with hard work done at Touro's rehabilitation clinic on St. Charles Avenue, some sensation and movement have come back. His attitude is positive. Back when he was in ICU he accepted that his future and the one with his bride, now of only five years, would be different.
"I just knew to be the best person I can be in a chair, I had to be strong, not only physically but mentally, so I just kind of, that's the kind of mindset I've been in since day one," Joliboix said.
Because spinal cord and brain injury can be so overwhelming, many local families turn to The Brain Injury Association of Louisiana. The grassroots group helps people find funding, doctors and equipment, home remodeling and other resources.
"Whenever people are going through a traumatic incident like that, and whenever resources are limited, to have any help from any, anybody is, is a blessing," said Paul Genco, the Chairman of The Brain Injury Association of Louisiana.
Justin dreams of now becoming an architect and getting another Saints Lombardi trophy tattoo. That's why the other leg of the dedicated fan is tattoo-free. He hopes not for long.
On his arm, another dedication to the one he believes gave him back, even though limited, the gift of walking. It reads 'With God all things are possible.' Matthew 19:26.
The Brain Injury Association of Louisiana needs your help so it can continue helping brain and spinal cord injury survivors. Eighty percent of its clients are in New Orleans and most are low income. It is for anyone in Louisiana.
There is a fundraiser Friday from 5:30-8 pm at the Eiffel Tower on St. Charles Avenue. There's a band and admission is free. A portion (20 percent) of the bar tab will be donated to the organization.
The 24-hour hotline for survivors is 504-982-0685. The group also has a soft ball league that plays at the Fly every Tuesday evening.
For more click here: http://www.biala.org/