This week we learned that about a member of the Rhone community named Craig Towler when he tagged us in the following video on Instagram. We invited Craig tell his story in his own words and he graciously accepted. What follows here will change your life, if you let it. Be sure to visit Craig's GoFundMe page here.
My name is Craig Towler, and I am a bilateral amputee. On July 4th, 2016 I was struck by an impaired driver which resulted in the amputation of both of my legs. This is my life and there is nothing that can take away my happiness and will to succeed.
It’s funny how things can change so quickly. I remember the day like it was yesterday because I was having such a great day up until the accident. I am an event coordinator/timing specialist for BBSC Endurance Sports. Every year we put on a race at the Boulder Reservoir on the morning of July 4th.
This has always been one of my favorite races, and this year was especially exciting because it was the first race I was working as the timer. Timing races is a very complicated and in depth process and I was excited because I killed it! Later that day after the event, I made it home to unload my vehicle and had plans to go celebrate the 4th of July with friends and watch fireworks.
Just as I was about to finish unloading, I felt an impact that pushed me into the back of my vehicle, and before I knew what had happened I looked down and saw both of my legs detached. I immediately knew my life was in danger, and action had to be taken immediately in order for me to survive. I was in tremendous shock at the time, but I remember everything very vividly. I was standing behind the tailgate of my SUV when I felt the impact, and I was pushed into the back of it with my legs hanging out the back.
Shortly after the impact, people who were nearby at the time came to my assistance and called for an ambulance. I instructed them to help me lay flat on the ground. To this day I’m still not sure how I had the mindset that I did, but my thoughts were very clear, and I knew exactly what needed to happen if I did not want to die.
Once I was on the ground, I could see the amount of blood that I was losing, and I was losing it very quickly. I then instructed the people around me to remove their belts, and secure them as tightly as possible to my upper legs above the injury to work as a make shift tourniquet. I later learned from the doctors that the tourniquets had stayed on my legs until I entered surgery hours later, and are the reason that I am alive today.
I was taken to the local hospital near my house, and was then air lifted to another hospital with a more advanced trauma unit. Once there, I underwent 5 surgeries throughout the course of the week involving the amputation of both of my legs. One was below the knee, and the other was through the knee. Skin graphs were also taken from both of my upper legs in order to close the wounds. I was in intensive care for over a week.
This however, is only a small part of my story and one that I will not allow to define me. I am lucky to be alive today, so every second that I am here is a blessing, and I will use my life experiences to spread positivity, and hopefully help motivate people to understand, and value the time we have.
The only constant in life is time, so we need to be very conscious of how we use it, and live our lives with a sense of urgency to do good, and also with an understanding and calmness that we will not be here forever, so we have to take advantage of every second that we are.
I didn't fight for my life to be alive today so I could ask why me, and feel sorry for myself. I fought for my life because I'm not done here, and I've got a lot of living left to do.
There are very few things in life that we have 100% control over, but our outlook on life and how we want to use the precious time that we have here is one thing that we can. No matter what obstacles, setbacks, or tragedies we may face every day, we have the opportunity to control how much time, energy, and effort we put forth into making positive changes for ourselves, and for those around us.
No matter what emotion you are feeling inside, time is always moving forward, so you can either choose to spend that time on negative emotions such as pain and anger or you can spend that time being productive.
I have always considered myself a very positive and motivating person. This experience may have changed me physically, but my core values and life goals have not changed. There are things in life that can be taken from you that are beyond your control, and there are things in life that no one can take from you.
I will not allow anyone or anything to affect how I see good in the world and the people around me, or my attitude when I wake up in the morning. Yes, my life may be a little different now, but I have no more challenges than anyone else, and all we do is persevere and continue to live the lives that we are blessed to have. I’m excited for the future.
I truly hope to inspire people to overcome adversity, and know that we are all strong and have the power inside to succeed. I am sharing my journey with the hope that someone may be inspired to take on their challenges full steam, and with a positive attitude, or to just help someone smile and get out of bed when they’re feeling down.
The number of people that are supporting me every day is enormous, and I am overwhelmed by their generosity and kindness. This shows me what a good opportunity I have to spread awareness and inspire change. This gives me energy and motivates me every morning to wake up and work hard every day!
After saying all of this it would be untrue to say that I have not been changed by this experience. The fact of the matter is that no matter how positive my outlook is, and how motivated I am to succeed this experience has changed me for the rest of my like. I will forever have obstacles and challenges, but I won’t let them hinder me.
I now have a unique opportunity and powerful platform to spread change by sharing my experiences. I appreciate you reading my story and allowing me to do this. Every day I learn how little control we have over the things in our life.
This may seem overwhelming and scary, but once you truly let go it becomes freeing, and only when you truly let go can you begin to experience life. Every obstacle in life is created by a barrier in your mind. And every obstacle can be overcome.
We have such enormous power with every decision we make, with every reaction we have. If we learn how to harness this power nothing can harm us.
Choose to be free. Choose to be in control. Life is good.
A big thank you to Craig Towler, you can support his GoFundMe by visiting this page here.