Person 2 Person: Dustin Shillcox

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Person 2 Person: Dustin Shillcox (Photo provided by Dustin Shillcox)

(KUTV) Dustin Shillcox is a motivational speaker who founded the Dustin Shillcox Foundation, which helps people in wheelchairs.

Shillcox was 26 years old when he was in a car accident and was paralyzed.

While working for his father in Wyoming, he was driving a work vehicle down Interstate 80 and a tire blew.

"It sucked me into the median," described Shillcox.

The vehicle then rolled.

"I wasn't wearing a seat belt, so I got ejected," Shillcox said.

A Life Flight helicopter took him to the University of Utah. He had a brain injury, spinal cord injury, four broken ribs, a broken sternum, and a shattered elbow.

He can't remember the accident and had a long recovery before his doctor told him he was paralyzed, and that he would not walk or stand again.

"That's kind of when it hit me," Shillcox said. "That was probably the worst day for me, for sure."

Shillcox had to re-learn how to do even basic tasks like showering and going to the bathroom.

"I lost full control of my bowel, bladder and sexual function," he said. "So that's a whole uncontrolled area where when you go out in public, or you're with your friends, or in a place and you do have an accident, it demoralizes everything."

He felt like the best and safest place to be was at home alone.

"That's where depression happens, because you don't want to take on the world, basically," he said.

About a year-and-a-half after the accident, Shillcox got the opportunity to be a part of some groundbreaking research at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

At the time, Shillcox was "trying to be like this outgoing, active guy but I wasn't. I was really struggling with my life."

Shillcox was implanted with an epidural stimulator, which has a remote he can use to turn on and off.

"I can actually stand up and I can move my legs, my toes, my ankles and that increases your blood flow, your circulation," he described. "It's more of a therapy thing for me, like the best kind."

Since the accident and this breakthrough, Shillcox has had a lot of opportunities to spread awareness about spinal cord injuries and motivate others.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which helped fund the epidural stimulator, asked Shillcox to represent them in the New York City Marathon two years ago.

He also has traveled all over the world, speaking in behalf of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

"It's just really has opened my eyes to different parts of what's going on in the world," he said. "I really want to use my situation and where I'm at now to help other people because I know how hard it is."

Shillcox is also a newlywed who married his wife, Sydney, earlier this year.

They met online while he was living in Texas, she in Utah, until he eventually moved to the state.

"The challenges we come up against, it doesn't phase her one bit," he said.

She isn't phased by his wheelchair, and lets him be as independent as he wants.

"I couldn't ask for somebody better in my life than her, because she's done everything to make my life better," he said.

So does Shillcox believe he will walk again?

"I believe so. I mean, will I be running one day, up normal? I don't think so. But, I think I will walk. It's just being prepared for it," he said.

For more about Dustin Shillcox you can visit the Dustin Shillcox Foundation website. He is also working on a project called "No Flipping Excuses." To learn more about that, go here.

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