I want to tell you about my son's friend Hal.
David met Hal shortly after we moved to California, and as it turns out Hal and David were both freshman at Claremont High School and had several classes together. Hal was a baseball player for CHS and a successful student as well as the kind of guy everyone loved. Hal comes from a family that even by California standards is considered highly affluent. His parents have a huge estate and have always opened up their home to Hal's friends to just hang out. David has spent many nights up at Hal's and I have always known that he was safe while he was there.
Last year was their senior year with graduation in June. Many parties, events were planned with lots of hopes concerning the future. Hal's plans were to attend California State University at Long Beach, but shortly after graduation those plans drastically changed for Hal.
A month after his high school graduation, on July 26th, 2007, he was involved in a truck accident after attempting to avoid a tire tread that was on the 15 freeway. As a result of the accident Hal sufferer a broken neck, broken scapula, tendon damage to his right shoulder and fractured T1-2 Vertebrae-the most damaging injury coming to the spinal cord at the C5/C6 level.
His recovery has included surgeries and ongoing rehab, as well as a lifestyle adjustment that has him using a wheelchair to travel. It was during this time that Hal found a lifetime goal. While going through rehab, he began talking with other spinal cord patients and found many of them were having problems affording the costs for the rehabilitation. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, lifetime healthcare costs for spinal victims can total up to nearly $3 million.
There Hal's dream and purpose was formed. The answer became the Be Perfect Foundation, which his family has begun in order to raise money for victims of spinal cord injuries. Hal felt that while growing up he had been so fortunate and always had been able to do what he wanted with his life, being in the hospital Hal saw the financial shortcomings of other patients, and he was driven to make a difference for those less fortunate.
So, Hal's foundation, Be Perfect, planned its first fundraiser. It was held on a Saturday night at the Herbert Hafif Estate. More than 700 people paid $100 each to attend. It included dinner and dessert, an auction and raffle that included many of Hal's sports memorabilia, musical entertainment, video presentations of the Be Perfect Foundation and also Hal's ongoing recovery. Then it was time for Hal to speak. He said, "This isn't as bad as it seems. I feel I've been given a gift, this is my opportunity to prove to everybody, to myself, to God, to my family that this speed bump in the road is so minor in life. I feel that this has really shown me who I am and what my character is. And I'm trying to be better every day and I'm trying to be perfect. It's me telling myself ever day that I'm going to wake up and give it my all with all my friends, my family and therapy…giving it 100 percent and striving for a better life."
During the event Hal received a surprise visit in the person of Dante Hall, wide receiver, kickoff returner and punt returner for the St. Louis Rams. Dante presented Hal with a N. 82 Rams' jersey and offered words of encouragement. "If anything was to ever happen to me on the field or in life, I could only pray and hope that I continue to live my life with half the zest that you live yours with," Dante told Hal.
Hal said, "It's shown me that all the money and all the material things in life are so minor, throughout all of this I've met my true friends and it's all these people here. It's the people that are here every day, day in and day out at my house. Without relationships in my life and my loved ones not around me there is no point to it".
Through all this, much good has come. And its been said that through Hal's fundraiser for the Be Perfect Foundation, he was able to raise over $300,000 to sponsor another person who suffers from a spinal cord injury.
What an inspiration to us all to try harder to be what really matters, to keep our eyes on a higher purpose! Amen!!