Last year we did an Earn Your Story piece on Heath Derosier. He and his wife were in a tragic motorcycle accident two days before their wedding. They pushed through and had their wedding in the ICU. Since the accident, they have been resilient on the road to recovery.
During the accident, Heath took the brunt of the impact in order to protect his wife. The surgeries he went through were life changing. “I had the titanium rods implanted in the center of my femur and tibia, my hip socket bolted back together, 3 ribs broken and my jaw wired shut.” He was confined to a wheelchair to maneuver. The doctors informed him that rehab would be a long and strenuous process. That never stopped him from pushing himself forward.
Heath’s father was a Navy Seal and was determined to help Heath with the recovery process. He had Heath work through different stretches and exercises to gain mobility and strength in his lower body. “The doc said I would even start to walk right for a year… after dad's exercises I was cane/walker/crutch free after 3 months." He continued to march forward until he could run. After 6 months of exercises, Heath was finally able to run a mile again. It took 12 minutes but the fact he could run again brought tears to his eyes. “I kept it up and started running faster and smoother.” Truly inspiring the way he never gave up.
Heath’s brother saw his improvements and invited him to run a Spartan Race with him. The Spartan Race forces you to run several miles through an intense obstacle course. Heath and his brother trained relentlessly for their 5 mile race through 24 different obstacles. “We trained hard, cried hard…day of the race was so exciting, nervous, hoping to perform.” And perform he did! He fought his way through the course, completing 20 of 24 challenges and finished in 1 hour and 45 minutes. “When I crossed the finish-line and the lady put the medal around my neck…more tears.” He was overwhelmed with emotion. Going from a near death collision only months before to completing a Spartan Race is remarkable! But Heaths proudest moment came later that year.
On their anniversary, Heath shocked his wife with a surprise wedding. Their original wedding was held in the ICU so his wife never got to wear her dress that she and her mom hand made. For their anniversary, Heath stole her dress and drove it down to Arizona where they were celebrating with family. “When she walked in her dress was displayed and our family was standing there to greet her…she was BLOWN AWAY!!” They had a small backyard wedding and she was finally able to walk down the aisle and say I do. All the best wishes to Heath and his family. A truly inspirational man.