Jeff: The Story of Dreams Made Possible
Updated: Sep 6
Jeff and Holly met in a small town just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio back when they were both in high school and immediately hit it off. They shared similar career ambitions, hobbies, interests, and had a passion for living life to the fullest. Jeff was a big music lover and would play the drums every chance he got. In fact, one of his favorite video games was Guitar Hero, he would spend hours playing that game trying to perfect his music skills. But when he wasn’t playing the drums, he would spend the rest of his time tending to his landscaping business.
Growing up, he enjoyed spending most of his time outside, it became like a second home to him. He would teach himself various swim tricks in his mom’s pool, get competitive playing corn hole with his friends, or participate in various sporting events. By the time he got to college, he knew he wanted to do anything that would keep him outside in nature.
Now a full-time student at Cincinnati State University, Jeff majored in landscaping architecture and even held a full-time position as a landscaper’s assistant. But it wasn’t until Jeff’s boss gave him creative freedom of the business while he was out of town that he knew he wanted to start his own landscaping business. Coupled with Holly’s business knowledge, expertise, and eagerness to build an empire with her partner, they both set out to build their own future together.
Upon graduation, Jeff and Holly set out to celebrate their accomplishments and the new life they were starting together. But unfortunately, while on their way back home from an outing with friends, tragedy struck when they were involved in a near fatal automobile accident. Both were rushed to the hospital where Jeff went through emergency spinal surgery. Shortly after this surgery, he suffered from an aneurysm that left him completely paralyzed. But Jeff never wanted to let his condition hinder him from living life and achieving his dreams.
So, he quickly began researching online wheelchairs that would help him maintain his mobility freedom and his search brought him to a Quantum Rehab power wheelchair provided by the Rehab Medical team. After reaching out to the Rehab Medical team, Jeff connected with Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) Chris Oder and in a few short months, Jeff had his mobility freedom back.
“Jeff and Holly were one of my very first complex power wheelchair patients,” said Chris. “They both were a joy to work with and I am glad I was able to help them.”
After receiving his Quantum iLevel power wheelchair, he made it his mission to attend more concerts, sports games, travel, and experience new things. Holly was so grateful for Chris, and how he made it his life’s mission to give Jeff the mobility and freedom he deserved, she couldn’t help but break down in tears as she watched the person she deeply loves and would give her life to regain his mobility. His happiness sparked an indescribable feeling of joy in her heart because she knew it meant it was one less thing for him to ask of others.
“Chris helped us regain mobility and freedom by guiding us through the process of identifying all of Jeff’s available options and then fighting for us to receive them,” said Holly.
“Chris’ advocacy and patience with Jeff, led us to a life of opportunity, freedom, independence and most importantly… it granted me the gift of being more than just a caregiver to Jeff. Chris’ support made it possible for me to not always be a caregiver, but a wife & best friend.”
Unfortunately, Jeff’s condition shortened his life span, so he and Holly had to make the most of every moment they had together before it was too late. One night he and Holly watched the movie, The Upside, a film about a man who became permanently paralyzed after a paragliding accident but through perseverance found a way to paraglide again. Not long after watching the film, Holly spent countless hours researching ways she could allow Jeff to experience paragliding as well and came across the non-profit organization, Project Airtime.
Based in Draper, Utah, Project Airtime was founded by Chris Santacroce, a full-time professional paragliding athlete that spent most of his time focusing on able-bodied athletic talents, that is until after suffering a spinal cord injury that resulted in him spending time in a wheelchair. After the incident he had a different view of the world and an improved view of life. He began focusing cultivating the unique talents and desires of all people, regardless of their abilities. Thus, Project Airtime was born.
Not long after Holly connected with Chris, her and Jeff were on their way to Utah with a couple of friends and Jeff achieved his dreams of paragliding over the mountains.
“We got to fly in the sky together for three straight mornings,” said Holly. “We were toast by the end of that trip. But the chair he received from Rehab Medical made this trip possible...so thank you all again for all your help in making a difference in Jeff's life and in mine.”
Jeff and Holly had plans to go on other adventures but unfortunately Jeff passed away before he could check everything off his bucket list. Jeff’s family and friends described him as ambitious, kind, smart, multi-talented, and full of life.
The Rehab Medical team only knew Jeff for a short time but we learned so much from him and how the work we do truly impacts the lives of our patients. We are grateful to have been a part of Jeff’s life and happy to have made his journey through life much more fulfilling.
A note from Jeff's wife: “Anyone who met Jeff wanted to be best friends with him. He was super intelligent, would remember the smallest details about everyone, and could talk to your little girl about dressing up then turn around and talk to your teenage boy about which drumsticks to buy. He was funny and witty and pop culture savvy. He was the kindest soul, and I will dote over him until the day I die.”
To get more inspirational stories like this, be sure to like us on Facebook.
If you or someone you know currently struggles with mobility and are in need of solution to help you take back your freedom, reach out to the Rehab Medical team by calling us at 866-813-0205 or completing our contact us form.