Quadriplegic Stuns Girlfriend By Standing for First Time Since Horrific Accident 7 Years Ago


On August 11, 2011, the world changed for a young man named Cole Sydnor. A healthy 16-year-old with some serious sporting skills, he was hanging out at a river with friends when he made a disastrous miscalculation.

The water looked deep enough for a dive — famous last words. Fortunately for Sydnor, they weren’t his last, but they almost were.

The teen hit his head on a rock and was left paralyzed, floating face-down in the water as his vision filled with red. The result was that the once very active young man became a quadriplegic.

According to Story Trender, his mother was sure they’d lost him, but fortunately his friends retrieved him from the river in time.

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That would have been a death sentence for many, but Sydnor has fought for every milestone he can. Eventually he got into a pool for therapy, but it triggered all the terror that he’d experienced on that fateful day, and he had to discontinue water-based therapy for a while.

“I don’t wake up and think: ‘I’ve got so many huge hurdles in front of me,'” he said. “I wake up and think: ‘OK … here’s another day. What are you going to do with it?’”

Later, he took up rowing — not an easy task for someone with mobility as limited as his, but he did it anyway. He got to compete on the same river that almost claimed his life, a fact that was not lost on him, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“For a while now I’ve had an idea of what I want to do when I’m healthy again. I want to go back to that same spot and swim across that same expanse of water and climb out on the other side,” he said.

“When I can do that, I’ll feel like the circle is complete. I’ll feel like I can say, ‘Screw you, river. You couldn’t do it. You couldn’t beat me.’”

“Considering the state I’m in, this is a step I can take now,” he continued. “It’s a pretty good way, I think, to show the river that I’m still here; that I haven’t quit; that I haven’t given up.”

He’s also worked hard to get any movement back, including working in therapy to use an exoskeleton so that he can stand and move with the help of a walker.

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The moment he finally managed to stand on his own two feet was magical. His girlfriend, Charisma Jamieson, was there to witness the event, and they were finally able to hug each other standing up.

It was strange to suddenly be looking down at a world I’m always looking up to,” said Sydnor, “it was totally surreal. I told Charisma not to cry, otherwise I was going to.”


“I didn’t realise how tall I am. I was 5ft 10 at the time of the accident, and now I’m 6ft 3. It felt amazing to be up and  moving around – this exoskeleton is the best there is, because the weight and maneuverability makes it feel like the real thing.”

The young man has more milestones ahead of him, but with his determination, strength of will, and support team, he’s definitely going places.

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