Golf scramble to help elevate Robison's accessibility, spirits
Every morning, Mike Robison awakens to a wall of words and images that offer hope and encouragement.
In his bedroom are hundreds of greeting cards and get-well wishes for the Johnstown resident, whose challenges are unending. He is paralyzed from the chest down.
"I have so much thanks to give out to all the people who have helped and who continue to help," said Robinson, 54. "There are so many people who have been there to lift me up."
Those who have been in Robison's support group hope the community again could rally around a man who has suffered greatly for more than a year.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, the second annual Hope 4 Mike benefit golf scramble will be held at the Links at Echo Springs in Johnstown.
Last year's golf outing, softball tournament and motorcycle ride raised funds to pay for medical expenses and to make the Robisons' home and vehicle wheelchair-friendly.
Members of Robison's church, Faith Fellowship, and others in the community have donated countless hours and materials to a family that has struggled with tragedy in the wake of powerful storms that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands statewide in June 2012.
This year's golf scramble will help raise money for a generator and an elevator that would give Robison access to another floor.
"It's been tough, but his faith keeps him moving forward," family friend Tom Hosley said. "He knows the situation he's in. It was a life-changing moment. Mike is a guy who was very athletic with softball, jogging and golf, and now he's confined to a wheelchair."
On the day after the derecho, Robison was cleaning up his yard when a tree limb fell and struck him across his back. He heard the noise, he said, but couldn't get out of the way in time.
He was flown by helicopter to OSU in Columbus.
After months of surgeries and rehabilitation, Robison is regaining strength but is in bed for much of the day and has been coping with a bed sore on his back, thus slowing progress.
"I've got a lot of pain, and my chest feels constricted," he said. "It feels like someone took a belt and wrapped it around me and pulled it tight. That never goes away. I've been working with doctors to try and overcome that pain."
Tanya, his wife of 30 years, remains by his side with constant care. The couple have three children: Justin, 26, Natalie, 24, and Lindsey, 19.
"Tanya has been Mike's angel on earth," Hosley said.
Robison, who is an engineer, hopes to return to work someday and drive a car again through special controls. But it is difficult to grasp what he won't be able do again -- ever.
"It still hits me when I look out my window and see someone jogging or riding a bike," he said. "I feel that in my stomach. I know I can't ever do that sort of thing again."