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Video by Patty Stocker
What started as a daily walk with his family on a warm, summer evening on July 21, ended with a tragic accident that changed his life and united a community to come to his aid. Robinson Elementary School Principal, Kevin LaCoste, talks with WestfordCAT’s, Patty Stocker, on Oct. 22, in his newly renovated home after three months of hospitalization and rehabilitation. LaCoste talks about his prognosis and recovery, reflects on the day of the accident, reveals what living with a severe spinal cord injury entails, and messages those in the community that came together to help during this trying time.
Recovery and Prognosis
“I have movement of my head and neck,” said LaCoste. “I can move my shoulders really well and I have some feeling going on in my biceps. But I do have sensation in other parts of my body, which show that some signals are going from my head through the spine to other parts of my body….for good and for bad the doctors won’t tell us too much. The reason for that is because my injury is considered incomplete. What that entails is that there could be signals that could reach other parts of my body. We hope with a lot of hard work and with the support of OTs (occupational therapists) and PTs (physical therapists) that we will be able to have more function in my body.”
“For those that don’t know, we just moved in in January,” said LaCoste. “We had been excited to live in a neighborhood where we could just walk as a family and be active. After dinner one evening we said, ‘Alright! Let’s go for the walk’. I decided to be a silly dad and I said ‘I’m going to hide up in the tree’ just to see if the kids even notice. I was not very high up on the tree. They came out; they saw me immediately. I reached up for the next limb, which was just a little bit higher than I could reach and as I pulled myself up, I slipped and fell down and landed on another limb which I believe was the cause of my injury.”
Living With a Severe Spinal Cord Injury
“I’m someone that really likes to keep busy and really help out around the house,” said LaCoste. “I love to cook. That was pretty much my favorite thing to do outside some of the other activities; just to be able to help out with the family and what not. I think that’s been the hardest thing for me – transitioning home, watching everyone do things FOR me and I can’t help out right now….right now Ali (LaCoste’s wife) is my primary caregiver and I don’t want that. I want her to be my wife, not the one taking care of me.”
Thanks to the Community
“I really want to thank the community for supporting our family,” said LaCoste. “There have been so many things that have happened behind the scenes that we don’t even still know about; that have been taken care of for us and taken off our plates. You have no idea how much that means to us – so we could focus on getting better and healing, especially early on. I just can’t say enough on how overwhelmed we are with the generosity. We’ve shed a lot of tears every time we hear about something that somebody else has done….the generosity of time and donations has been greatly appreciated. We look very forward to being able to repay this in some way to our community and once I’m better, I think we’ll start to do that.”
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