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A Fargo man's journey back from a paralyzing car accident that nearly took his life

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Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A heart-warming story tonight about one man's journey back from a paralyzing car accident that nearly took his life.

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This Saturday at El Zagal Shrine, friends and family are throwing a benefit for 31-year old Matt Thompson of Fargo.

His amazing recovery from a July crash last year, has inspired others, going through the same thing.

Matt has drawn strength from Fargo men and women who were at Craig Hospital in Denver, while he was there.

When Matt Thompson awoke in a Fargo Hospital days after his car accident last July,

When they tell you, you have been in an accident, you are paralyzed, it is like, shocking, wow.

The realization quickly set in. Paralyzed from the chest down.

Matt Thompson/Fargo: You are are relying on people to move you, tube fed, trachea, very intimidating, and daunting.

But like today, its Matt's two young children who motivate him. He remembers their first visit to his bedside shortly after the accident.

Matt: “Motivating factor was my two kids, the first thing my son said to me was, Dad get up, let's go and play.”

The accident in Grand Forks last July nearly took his life. It damaged his spinal cord, leaving him unable to walk.

He did his rehab at Craig Hospital in Denver. At the time, a dozen North Dakotans were recovering there.

Brain and spinal injuries. He drew strength from Jason Larkin, Ethan Parmer and Lexi Bolstad, all of Fargo, all together at Craig, and all planning to attend this weekend's benefit for Matt.

Matt: “Nice to know that meeting them you were going to go home and they would be there for you.”

Today, Matt is at work at Wanzek, in West Fargo.  Working on renewable energy projects. His two children are his biggest fans.

Matt: “I work out my arms, work out at lunch hour. They have a gym here.”

The single dad has a positive attitude that won't quit, he loves his job, the kids keep him busy, and after the day, it comes down to this.

Matt: “Things are always possible, sometimes you have to do it a different way.”

That benefit runs from one to four Saturday at El Zagal. 

There will be live music, a silent auction and taco bar. Lend-A-Hand is providing matching funds.

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Kevin Wallevand
Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.
(701) 241-5317
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