Faces of Kansas City: Man overcomes paralysis to help others - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Faces of Kansas City: Man overcomes paralysis to help others with rehab

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Sam Portitt's story is one of tragedy, luck, perseverance and incredible good will.

While on a dream vacation in Italy, Porritt snapped a picture of a gorgeous sunrise in Tuscany. He stepped up on a ledge to take another snapshot, lost his footing and plummeted 15 feet.

"The fall knocked me out. Next thing I know I'm coming to, I hear my wife screaming my name and the next thought I have is I have no feeling from the waist down, it's completely gone and I can't move," Porritt said.

In an instant his life changed forever.

"The thought in my mind was that my life is over," Porritt said.

Paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury, he began the grueling work of learning to walk again at the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City.

"When Sam first started therapy here he was unable to walk, he was using a wheelchair as his primary means of getting around," said Renee Hughes, a physical therapist.

That was two and a half years ago. Today Porritt passes his visit to rehab with flying colors.

Through a stroke of luck he had no idea he had an insurance policy that included an unlimited amount of rehabilitation. He said many people's insurance covers just 20 visits to a rehab clinic.

"The purpose of telling my story is to open a door to start a conversation to say, ‘here's an issue that is happening every day to people in Kansas City and people all over.' It's wrong," Porritt said.

He began the Falling Forward Foundation, which seeks to cover people's rehabilitation when their insurance runs out.

"I lucked out. Now let's help other people, let's give them the same opportunity that I had. I'm proof that it works. Two and a half years of therapy, I have my life back," Porritt said.

So far the Falling Forward Foundation has helped several people continue with their therapy. Porritt would like to help 5,000, but he can't do it alone and needs help.

If you would like to learn more about his foundation and donate, go to fallingforward.org.

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