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Spinal cord patient appreciates “extended family” at RIO

Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center | Rehabilitation

Dave Pierson knows that life can change in a flash. For him, it was a November day in 2011 when he was cleaning the gutters on the roof of his house. As he climbed down, the ladder slipped, causing him to fall and land on his neck.

Dave suffered a spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed essentially from the arm pits down, with only a bit of movement in his arms. “I’m lucky, some guys can only move their necks,” he says.

Dave spent about six weeks at Legacy Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon. “While I was there I had a whole lot of supporters and staff who were behind me to give me a base of skills for the rest of my life,” he says. “It’s a really devoted staff, definitely passionate about what they do. They are great people, too –– they are my extended family.”

Dave not only stays in touch with staff members on social media, he stops by Legacy RIO regularly to see the staff and visit patients.

One of Dave’s lessons is that while life can change, some things remain more or less the same. Before his injury, Dave was an avid cyclist, riding about 5,000 miles a year for recreation. Now, he has taken up “arm cycling,” riding a cycle he pedals with his arms. He got his arm cycle through the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

He also hasn’t lost a sense of humor, “I never thought I would see a paraplegic and say, ‘that lucky guy has hands and some core.’”