There are many situations in life, both good and bad, that shape us into the people we become. Some of these situations are great, such as getting married or having children, and easily become positive contributors to our lives. Others can be tragic and life changing. It is how we choose to cope with these circumstances that can most impact and shape us as individuals.
Many people face tragedies in life, but few families are able to triumph together. For the Jones family of four, one such tragedy happened on April 9, 1987.
Reggie and Wesley were out playing in the woods behind their house as most kids do. Their parents were inside the family home and unaware that the next few minutes would completely turn their whole world upside down and test their faith and family bond more than they could ever imagine.
The boys, along with several neighborhood friends, had constructed a tree house in some undeveloped woods about a mile behind their homes. When Reggie, Wesley, and two other friends got to the tree house that afternoon they noticed a new addition.
Some other kids had moved their zip line that had been hanging only about six feet off the ground, to the top of the tree house and now soared over twenty feet above the ground. Wesley, being the nine year old daredevil of the group, tried it first and slid down the line with no problems.
After an hour or so of tinkering around their tree house, the boys heard a loud bell ring and realized it was their mom calling them home to dinner. Reggie, who was the older and responsible brother at age twelve, knew that they had better hurry home or be in trouble.
Wesley insisted on going down the zip line one more time. As he jumped from the platform the rope snapped sending him headfirst to the ground twenty feet below.
In an instance, Wesley went from being a carefree kid, with no real cares in the world, to breaking his neck and becoming a quadriplegic.
April 9, 1987 was a definite defining point in the Jones family’s life. How they dealt with this tragedy would shape the rest of their lives. Many would have just collapsed and given up under these unimaginable circumstances.
With their world as they knew it crumbling down around them, they decided to strengthen their bond in each other and reinforce their relationship with God. They decided to triumph.
To say this was an easy undertaking would be untrue. Wesley spent a combined six months in Children’s Healthcare and Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. But he was not alone.
Both his parents and Reggie moved into the hospital to be at his side. Although sleeping in chairs and on cots was not ideal, they knew how important it was to keep the family unit together and strong.
Through hard work and God’s help, Wesley regained a great deal of feeling and movement throughout his body, but still remains confined to an electric wheelchair. The family has experienced many highs and lows in the years since that life changing day, all of which have helped shape them into the people they are today.
Their family bond and faith in God remains stronger than ever, and the brothers still share an unbreakable bond. Reggie and Wesley have always had a strong desire to want to give back and help others that have been through tragedies similar to their own.
This was the driving factor behind the formation of Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation.
People often seem to forget that when a child goes through a catastrophic injury or severe illness, they are unfortunately not the only ones affected. While they are the main focal point, rightly so, the entire family is trying to digest the situation as well.
To see your child, brother, or sister going through such distress can bring about intense feelings of helplessness. The family as a whole needs to be ministered to and, if you will, treated as well.
Physical impairments are easy for the average person to recognize, but the emotional scares are sometimes harder to see. The Jones family often reflects back on the tragedy they faced more than twenty years ago. They also distinctly recall how God has used different individuals to impact their lives in many different ways to allow them to triumph over immeasurable circumstances.
As the brothers began to think about how people had helped their family through such a difficult time, the vision for Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation became abundantly clear.
The Triumph Foundation’s mission is to support the family unit through biblical principles from the initial impact of a tragedy to the ongoing circumstances faced in the years to come.
The brothers bring very unique views to Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation, one as a victim and the other as a family member.
Who better to lend a helping hand to people going through a traumatic injury or illness than two brothers who have experienced a great deal of tragedy first hand.
With Reggie and Wesley’s drive and determination, Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation is sure to have a great impact on many families and help them to triumph over any tragedy they face. With hard work and most of all God’s help anything is possible in life.
What We Do
Hopeless. Alone. Overwhelmed. Broken.
These are just a few words to describe the thoughts racing through the mind of a victim of a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, as well as, their family. There are over 1.3 million families affected throughout the United States by spinal cord injuries alone.
When tragedy strikes, many emotions and challenges consume the family unit. Besides the obvious individual directly affected by the experienced trauma, the entire family is emotional and financially impacted by this life changing event.
There are numerous foundations that have touched many people’s lives. Most of these focus on either the victim or the victim’s family, but not both at the same time. This is one of the many things that set The Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation apart from other organizations. We realize the importance of helping and rebuilding the entire family as a whole.
There are many stages during the grieving process. For this reason, Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation has broken its assistance into three main categories:
- The initial onset of illness or injury
- Adapting to life after the illness or injury
- An escape from the stress caused from the illness or injury
Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation is there to lend help from the initial onset of illness or injury. This is an extremely difficult time for the entire family. The impact of the illness or injury has not completely set in. There are many feelings consuming the entire family.
Our Care Team delivers care packages that include such things as snacks, inspirational and devotional books, educational materials about the current experience, and something as simple as a roll of quarters for the vending machines. It may not sound like much. However, these little gifts let the family know that they are not alone. It lets the family know that there are not only people who care about them, but know what they are going through.
Grief Counseling is also provided at no charge for patients as well as their families. Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation continues to expand its national network of grief counselors and pastors trained to provide families hope in their time of need.
Returning home after an extended hospital stay can be the hardest adjustment of all. Being back in a familiar setting often times is when the severity of the tragedy sinks in and physical limitations become more evident. Gone are the structural comforts of the hospital environment where doctors and nurses vigorously worked to care for the victim. The load now rests with the family.
The home surroundings are the same as they had left them, but the person is different. Depression can set in, only further complicating the situation. Homes are generally not designed with a wheelchair user in mind. In a lot of cases, the wheelchair will not fit through bedroom and bathroom doorways. In some cases, they will not fit into the front door of the house. And of course most houses have steps. Their once inviting home seems all but a distant memory.
How many times have you been in a grocery store or any other normal everyday task and see someone in a wheelchair? It’s only human nature to look at this person and wonder what happened to cause this disability. We want to change people’s way of thinking. Encourage everyone to look deeper, to wonder about the struggles this person and their family have faced over the years, to feel their heartaches, loneliness, and despair. Then realize the strength and courage it took to overcome such a tragedy and once again be a contributing member of society. And finally, and most importantly, ask yourself, how could I have helped this person, a complete stranger, restore their hope by restoring their family?
The question now is not why should I help, but why not?
There is a place for everyone at Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation. The easiest way to help is with your time. Consider earnestly praying for not only the foundation but for all the families we come in contact with. Raise awareness in your local community about the foundation, and promote giving to the foundation with your circle of family, friends, and community.
Our Adapt Team is filled with everyone from licensed contractors to carpenters to painters to demolition crews. If you are willing to roll your sleeves up and get dirty, there’s always work to be done. Feel free to contact us to learn more about opportunities in your area.
Time and labor are both important pieces of the puzzle. However, the most difficult part of restoring hope to these families is in finding the finances to cover absorbent costs. As the name and span of the foundation grow, the budget increases dramatically. Financial contributions of any size are always welcome. We also accept donations of land or properties to use as a vacation destination. Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax deductible, but most importantly can impact a family for a lifetime.
The next time you see a person in a wheelchair, think not only of their struggles and accomplishments, but how you could have directly contributed to restoring their hope by restoring their family.
Through your help, we can continue to make a difference in families’ lives for many years to come. Contact us today to learn how you can help.
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