We are very fortunate to live in a community that has been so incredibly supportive and generous to us. You all have walked, run, donated funds, helped a family whose home burned, made us aware of events that we could give some attention to and just plain been there for us. A reader and fellow school mom of Jen P. has made us aware of a young man and his family that need our help. The best part is not only can you help this family out, you gain by being able to have a great meal at California Pizza Kitchen and 20% of the check will be donated to the Stephen Shope Recovery Fund. We will let Georgia Fontana, Stephen’s aunt tell the story.
Stephen Shope, 20 years old, born in Charlotte and grew up in Matthews, NC was in a horrible motorcycle accident on June 21, 2009 that claimed his left hand and right arm. Stephen was heading down I-485 towards Matthews passing the Providence Rd. exit trying to make it to his destination before 4pm when he sped up to pass a car and head off the highway. The car in front of him for some reason (maybe to get out of Stephen’s way) got over into the lane that Stephen had moved to in order to exit the highway. That’s when everything happened too fast…once Stephen realized the car got over with him, he tried to get out of its way by pulling onto the shoulder to miss hitting it when he was not able to clear the car. He clipped the back bumper causing him to lose control of the bike. He tried to recover and hang on to the handle bars for as long as he could until he hit the guard rail, rode it down and was then thrown from the bike 1,000 feet.
Stephen landed hands first on the shoulder of I-485. He severed his major arteries in both wrists causing a situation to go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. By the grace of God, four motorists all with medical backgrounds jumped out of their cars with beach towels to help Stephen. Within minutes someone with OnStar called in the accident and CMC’s helicopter was in the area, landed on 485 and rushed Stephen to CMC within 10 minutes. Stephen was in surgery to save his hand and arm when we, his family got the horrible call. That night he was saved in an 9 hour surgery that resulted in the loss of his left hand. The first week Stephen was in Trauma ICU he under went 6 more surgeries to save his right arm but then the arm had to go to save Steve.
After 6 weeks in the hospital, Stephen finally came home. His spirits have always been good and prayerful. He is a very special young man who was not supposed to die that day….thank you God!!! Stephen is very safety conscience and always wore his safety gear when riding, helmet, gloves, heavy jeans and jacket. This one day, he did not wear his jacket. It has been 15 weeks since the accident and Stephen is recovering quite well. He is strong in mind and body, very fit, and determined to do for himself. He is doing much better with his new left hand now, the I-Limb. It was very user unfriendly at first, but Steve is getting the hang of it. He has to think everything through before he can get the I-Limb to do what he wants it to….but after 4 weeks he can open doors, brush his teeth, answer a phone, text, type, and feed himself…all of this takes a long time, but he can do it himself and we could not be more proud of him!!! He is attending UNCC and taking 13 hours with the aid of a note taker and test taker assigned to him from the disabled office on campus. He wants to go back to work soon and will one day at CarMax-Pineville.
Four weeks prior to the accident, Stephen’s mom was laid off and the 8th day he was is Trauma ICU, his step-father was laid off. This is a family in need and trying to continue to move forward.
California Pizza Kitchen in the SouthPark Mall has stepped in to offer help. They are giving 20% of all meals back to the Shope family if you print off this post. This offer is good from Oct. 19-21 and 26-28 and will help aid in Stephen’s medical bills. If you can’t attend and would like to still help, donations can be made to The Stephen Shope Recovery Fund found at any NC Bank and Trust Branch Bank in Charlotte, NC.
California Pizza Kitchen, here we come! Thanks, Smarties!