Taylor Blackwell | Executive Director of Patient Care & Amputee
A highly energetic and eager young man with dreams and aspirations of joining the military. He enrolled in the US Navy ROTC program at the age of 14 at Fletcher High School in Jacksonville Florida. There he was granted a great opportunity in meeting active duty service men and women to further indulge his appetit for a military career. Shortly after, Taylor attended Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida where he excelled his studies and was an active member of the Panther Football Team. He graduated in 2005 and had been working as a chef at Doc’s Restaurant Downtown Orlando.
He loves watersports and enjoyed a very active lifestyle with his friends and family. These hobbies also piqued his interests in researching a possible modeling career. Being a motorcycle enthusiast, he also became an active member of the American Bikers Aiming Towards Education of Florida – an advocacy group focused on promoting safe motorcycling.
On June 11th, 2006 Taylor’s life would be changed forever. A driver in a sport utility vehicle suddenly changed lanes and slammed into the then 18 year old and his motorcycle. The impact ripped off his right arm instantly and crushed his left leg, which later had to be amputated. Taylor’s friends riding in a car behind him witnessed the horrific accident as it unfolded. They turned his long sleeve shirt into a tourniquet to staunch the bleeding and ultimately bought enough time until the ambulance arrived. He was wearing a helmet and suffered no brain damage, but Taylor spent more than two months in the hospital, undergoing fourteen surgeries.
Even as a double amputee, it seems the only thing Taylor can’t do is feel sorry for himself. Since the accident, Taylor has devoted himself to training for various track and field events thanks to support from other amputee athletes, foundations, his friends, family and fans.
There is one thing I have learned over my life time is that you can’t give up on yourself or your dreams. The adversity and trials of life and how you deal with them make you who you are and what you will become. To quote the immortal words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Accomplishing your dreams is all about taking the Next Step!