Will Schumacher will never forget the remarkable series of events that led to broken neck as well as his rescue. Will was on an annual church outing to Kalalau Beach on Friday, August 29, 2014 where he was jumping and playing in the waves.
He shared his story at Crossroads Christian Fellowship and recalled, “The way the waves were breaking, it must have turned me up and dropped me down” as his face hit the ground hard and he briefly lost consciousness. “I remember feeling the sand with my fingers as I was diving. I sort of felt like I had the wind knocked out of me.”
Trying to get to safety, he realized something was very wrong as he collapsed face down on the shore. A group from the beach rushed to help him up to the beach and placed him on his back. A church leader, Dana Nadeau noticed that when Will looked up, “his face was all bloodied.”
A nurse and a lifeguard who happened to be at Kalalau as well, tended to him and helped him to slow his rapid , frantic breathing as others radioed for help. A cruise ship with 3,000 people aboard that had been delayed for 45 minutes due to an unrelated event was still in the area and was able to come to Will’s rescue and transport him out of the remote area along the Na Pali Coast and ultimately to Oahu’s Queen’s Hospital.
The doctors determined Will’s C-7 vertebra had been crushed, his neck broken, and he needed emergency surgery to prevent permanent paralysis or death. After being released from the hospital, Will was very grateful to be able to walk, to feel, to touch and to move. He will wear a neck brace for the next 2 months but amazingly had a great attitude during the whole event. “This is a gift from God,” he said. He says both his thoughts on life and his priorities have changed. He well take nothing for granted. He says he will be thankful every day, for the rest of his life for the series of miracles that led to his recovery.
During his remarks he told everyone to “Live big, be courageous, step forward and make God the centerpiece of your life.”
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