On Halloween Day in 2013, Derrik Amaral left Oak Hill Hospital on his lunch break. He worked at Oak Hill as a Certified Nurse Assistant. He had no idea that his life was about to change in a drastic way.
As he returned from lunch, he stopped at the light in front of Oak Hill Hospital. His car was rear ended by a truck and it was sent spinning into traffic. That moment, he stated, changed his life changed from providing care for people to now being the one in need of care.
He was taken from the scene of the accident to the trauma unit at Bayonet Point Hospital in Hudson. He had no feeling from the neck down due to extensive injuries to his vertebras. The prognosis was that Derrik would be a quadriplegic. The driver of the truck had basic car insurance that pays a maximum of $10,000 per person injured. That did not even cover a single night in the ER.
Derrik was not willing to give up. Over the last few years he has been dedicated to his recovery. First he was at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Jacksonville for six weeks and then he was able to return to Hernando and visit a Brooks Rehabilitation outpatient facility in Hudson.
He worked hard on his rehabilitation and now has use of his arms and has even taken a few steps. He is now working with Romy Camargo at Stay in Step in Tampa. Romy is a special forces soldier paralyzed in Afghanistan by a sniper's bullet. Romy founded Stay in Step, a non profit rehabilitation center in Tampa. In addition to working with Derrik, Romy reached out to Alexis Eukitis, a local seventeen year old girl, who was injured in a golf cart accident.
Derrik says that he "always leaves Stay in Step with a little more hope, determination, and strength." He is hoping to raise enough funds to increase his therapy from three times a week to five times a week. His insurance will not the cover the extensive and aggressive therapy that he needs. He has started a go fund me page to raise money for his rehabilitation at http://www.gofundme.com/DerrikAmaral.
"To exist, I need help. To live, I need care," stated Derrik. He explained that if it weren't for his parents, he would be in a nursing home. "It's been emotional, physical, and a financial hardship." Despite this, Derrik's passion for walking again has brought him much further than what doctors predicted.