“It means to bounce back, to survive, to thrive, to not let one act define you. The actions after that act can be the definition of who you are, and what you can do to grow from an incident or an accident, or any kind of situation—that shows true resilience.” – Joshua Dean

My journey of healing and gratitude begins with my daughter’s reflection. She writes, “Transplantation looks like me and my story belongs to me, my family, and the donors that helped my Daddy heal. My parents teach me to be purposeful in acts of selflessness, embrace humility, and honor others through lasting impressions of human kindness. To my Daddy’s donors, thank you for being my Daddy’s hero.”

On September 10, 2017, my life changed. I was involved in a car crash, sustaining multiple injuries including losing a portion of my arm. Due to the extent of my injuries, I was transferred to a trauma hospital where doctors performed emergency surgery to repair my arm. All that I could think about in those moments were my wife and my two young daughters. Comprehending the magnitude of the course of events was overwhelming, and the thought of losing my arm, and perhaps even my life was indescribable. I spent five days in the hospital and over the next three months, had five surgeries to continue repairing my arm. A donor skin graft was used during the first surgery and a donor nerve graft was used during the last surgery.

The healing process has been extensive with physical therapy and doctor’s visits to measure the use, strength, and dexterity of my arm. As a former professional and collegiate football player, my athleticism was a vital part of my life and still is today thanks to generosity of my donors. I am forever grateful.

Joshua Dean