Trent Fielder was having a very dark period in his life in 2014 when he was sitting in a restaurant staring at his dinner contemplating suicide. He had been a happy new father of twins in 2011 when his trouble began, he noticed one day on the way home from work that his feet didn’t want to follow instructions, this led to a hospital visit where doctors diagnosed him with Guillain-Barre syndrome an auto-immune disease which attacks the nervous system causing paralysis in Fielder. Following the diagnosis, in 2012 he and his family moved back to his home state of Texas, the next day his father died of an embolism due to a clotting disorder. In 2013 he had surgery to try to reduce the pain which went wrong causing a clot similar to the one which killed his father which meant more time in hospital. He began rehab which saw very little positive gain over several years which is how he found himself in that restaurant.
Then an act of a stranger changed everything; “I was in a restaurant and had made that decision that I was worth more to my family dead than alive. I was staring at a plate of food, and someone came up to me that I had never seen and never did again. They just put their hand on my shoulder and my arm. And in that second, it brought that darkness back into light,” he said.
He decided he wanted to do for others what that stranger had done for him. “Suffering is suffering and it should not be an opportunity for us to separate ourselves from everybody, which I did,” Fielder said. “It’s an opportunity for us to put our hand on someone else and to say, ‘I am here.'” He went back to physical therapy in 2014 redoubling his efforts.
In January 2016, Fielder said he and his wife were talking to their twin children about what the new year means. They explained it’s an opportunity to start fresh and pray for others. “My little 4-year-old daughter, she dropped to her knees and put her little, bitty hands together and started praying. She said, ‘Dear God, in this new year, I want my daddy to walk again,’ ” Fielder said. That Monday, Fielder was training with Gonzalez in the pool when he felt his hips move.
That led to working on getting him able to walk again after a fashion, he still can’t feel his legs but thanks to some innovative ideas he can move them in a way that lets him walk with a little support. Around 2017 he found the Adaptive Training Foundation, an organization run by a former NFL linebacker that helps wounded veterans and others test the limits they’ve set for themselves and 22 Kill, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention for veterans and first responders. The name represents the 22 service men and women who kill themselves each day. Fielder wanted to help give people hope by sharing his experiences and what he has overcome.
Trent Fielder’s story continues with inspirational effort after inspirational effort including the running of a 70+ mile marathon; but to read more about that you will need to go to your Good News Story of the Day here. For now though we will leave you with what Trent want’s more than anything; he said he will keep doing his best to bring hope to others. “You’re not as alone as you think you are, or as desperate as you feel, or as empty as you think,” he said. “Your life has worth. Take that extra breath. And realize there are people out there that want to be part of your life. My story and your story aren’t really that different – it’s our story together.”
Story and Image from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.