LIMA — Despite a life-changing car accident that paralyzed him from the shoulders down, Jeremy Bigelow told St. Rose and St. Gerard students he’s confident he’ll walk and play hockey again.
The message he’s hoping to impress on kids is that a positive attitude makes an enormous difference. Monday kicked off “Positive Addictions” week for Lima’s four Catholic Schools: Lima Central Catholic, St. Charles, St. Rose and St. Gerard.
Bigelow suffered a spinal cord injury in October 2010, when he was 26. He was very active as a junior hockey coach, and he was training for a marathon. Since the accident, Bigelow has been in aggressive therapy treatment, continually improving his condition.
Students listened to Bigelow’s story Monday at St. Gerard Catholic School, showing students it’s instrumental to stay positive throughout life, no matter what kinds of obstacles they face. For Bigelow, it’s facing everyday activities he once took for granted. Anything that involves using his hands or feet is something he now relies on others help him do.
“My point for you guys today is stay positive. You know, don’t give up when things get tough,” said Bigelow, a Sylvania native. “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
He even relates his point to challenging schoolwork, something any student can understand. A moniker he repeated was 212 degrees, the temperature that water boils and turns to steam. With that extra effort, he said, it can make all the difference. For instance, steam can power trains.
“If you keep God in the center of life, it’ll lead you in the right direction,” he added.
At the end of the assembly, each student was given a black wrist band. On one side, it reads “Team Bigelow” and “212 - The Extra Degree.” When the wrist band is turned inside out, one word is lightly imprinted on the bracelet: Believe.
Bigelow’s message is something Marta Truex hopes students can hold onto for a lifetime.
“When something goes bad or something’s wrong in their life, it doesn’t mean that’s the end for them. They can pick it up and move forward,” said Truex, an administrative assistant at St. Gerard Catholic School.
“I think in today’s day and age, they go very quickly to the opposite side. If we don’t give them something positive to look forward to, the negative things seem to pop up the quickest, whether it be TV or their friends, to Facebook to the Internet,” she said. “Those are the easy things, not the positive influences for them. This gives the kids something positive for the kids to look forward to and give them positive options.”
Positive Addictions week continues with various self-esteem workshops, drug and alcohol alternatives and a three-mile run for all four Catholic schools Friday.