An open letter to everyone thanking you in the efforts of James Marshall to obtain an accessible van as well as supporting my foundation, Jamesmarshallproject, Inc.,
Before I begin, I just wanted to say a few things: I've never had an accessible van, house, bathroom, closet, etc. never anything that made it easier to get from point A to B. Using the restroom consisted of someone carrying me through the bathroom doorway to the toilet, then to the shower & back to my regular mattress... I then got dressed and up in my chair. Which I liked the regular stuff then but no one’s back is going to last & even if it were just one more way to gain more accessibility. We needed to remodel and really make something different. Maybe, a split sided bed (one side where the head raised, feet raised, his/hers, etc. but it would’ve made things a lot easier). Things have never been a cake walk up to this point, though it’s in my nature to do that. With my mom primarily taking care of me then (that's a LOT on one person) so they should've named my road, “Bumpy.” And after 10 years later here's a “short thank you” letter for our entire industry and motocross fans to read from James Marshall, personally.
It took me a while to write this & really think it out. Bare with me: I’d first like to begin by letting you all know the amount of effort, time and heart I have poured into this to see it come to life; tremendous amounts. I am looking around and see no accessibility and I needed to begin with a van. Though I had no idea how it’d work. It has truly been nothing but blood, sweat and tears poured into this as I strategically planned on how I would do my gofundme account and have some of our more highly noticeable/respectable names to jump on board, as I really, honestly felt like no one believed in me anymore. But I needed help in social media's because that's the way of the world today. After the first post from TC41, the numbers were coming up & up so rapidly, I was on an hourly alert to update me on my GoFundMe acct. Some blessing to have at this point in life! Trey Canard, Grant Langston & all my family, friends, fans & supporters all got on board before I began this journey of obtaining a van to basically get a “get out of hell state.” I remember spending countless hours on this. One time, I was doing thank you letters as I was laying in the hospital with 3 blood clots, pneumonia & another urinary tract infection. And that was just my second blood clot visit... I would call Canard & we'd talk Moto and then van stuff and remember saying to him I could probably get a used one for like $20K, even though it had been used and most likely worn out a bit (with the high mileage & regular wear and tear, I’m sure), but it'd get the job complete.
My mind started getting creative and that’s when I started thinking… what if we pieced this thing out through government assistance after I just got a regular, plain van? We were getting closer towards 15K at this point and so I called Bobby Ragean at Star Chevrolet (Honestly, just exploring options) to see what I could get quote on a plain van to remodel it out for accessibility. He reminded the high cost of it and asked me to call back after Anaheim 1. Not really sure what exactly he had on his mind. So I’d wait & call back after A1 SX. Who knew what was going through Bobby’s mind…
I called back Monday morning after A1 and that's when Bobby gave me the best news any Quad in my position could hear. Bobby said “Bobby Ragean’s Star Racing Yamaha, Coy Gibbs & Thomas @ n-Fab” filled me in that they as a group decided they'd all pitch in and get me a 2010 Honda Odyssey. As long as all the measurements would fit, we were set to have a van delivered in 1 week! Bobby knew how much an accessible vehicle cost from working with Donovan Mitchell (another quadriplegic) when he managed the Star Racing team effort years ago. With the low amount of money, I had to spend, I'd still be struggling to get this thing up & running then thinking of a compensation plan to pay it off. I simply just wanted to take the first step, and definitely knew I couldn’t see the whole stair case. Things from better to worse; zero to hero, in my eyes as I got this call Monday morning. It’s never felt so good to hear Bobby voice! On a professional level.
I'm not sure why Bobby did all this? If it was my training efforts back at MTF, my "do whatever it takes attitude" that Bobby remembers, either way he went way, far and above far and beyond for an individual who was screaming for help. Same goes for JGR & n-Fab, honestly. I'm very proud to have a person like Bobby Ragean at Star Racing Yamaha along with JGR & n-Fab who’d go so far above and beyond for me in this level of category. I cannot thank them each individually, Thomas Fichter & Coy Gibbs enough for all the hard work, time & their effort throughout such a short, couple of grueling weeks to all come together and make one more person’s life does a complete 180 degree turn! I’m on cloud 9! I am ready to take my own foundation, the Jamesmarshallproject, Inc. and build it to be where we can do the same for some other young man or woman in the near future! As well as my personal life, I’ve only begun on there too. I'm forever grateful Bobby, Coy & Tom. Thank you all gentlemen! Thank You Guys, from the bottom of my heart. And maybe one day, just maybe, I’ll be able to return the favor.
www.gofundme.com/rebirthofJMP is the link where I’m still raising money for other funds like gas, insurance,
etc. and all the other things that go with owning a vehicle. Thank you ALL for everything especially the Star Racing, JGR & n-Fab Efforts! Thank you to those who’ve donated and to those wondering what I’m doing: starting over, fresh vehicle, home, and every other aspect in life. I’m a quadriplegic looking for a little help to get back up on my wheels to get better quality of life & give back to tomorrow’s society through motivational/safety speeches.
We were at La Torretta, a resort on Lake Conroe, for a high school graduation party. One of the most unexpected and unforgettable things I could possibly think of happening happened only a few hours later. And this would change my life forever..
We were swimming after we first got around 4PM. We hit the bar then the pool! After we swam for a bit, I hopped back up in my chair & we went up to grab some sushi. Then we (Josh & I) headed slowly back up to the room and as I got there my party had gone out to eat according to his mom so I thought I'd go downstairs and get some fresh air. It was around 10:30 PM so I cruised out to these small lodges and behind them was the lake and some body's back there doing a little fishing. So I sat and talked on the phone while they finished up then as I was went to pull out my phone fell. Typically, that was no big deal. But my headphones came unplugged so my cell was laying in the grass and I couldn't fish it up in my lap like I usually do. So I pulled parallel to the bulkhead to feel the breeze off the water & as I began to pull up, I fell into an extremely big blind hole that was cut evenly with the grass that sat right up next to the bulkhead. Before I could realize what was going on, I was laying over the side of the bulkhead, laying over my right armrest and so close to the water that my hands were in the water & came up past my wrists.
My tie down going over my knees was the only thing supporting me from falling out of my chair and going headfirst into the water. I don't think it was too deep but considering I can't swim, I was way out of luck. If I was to make it, it would be because of God reasons. My glasses fell from the top of my head first. Then my headphones next. I honestly did not know if I would make it. So, I took a break from whistling & screaming, "help me" to save my voice. I did not want to have my last moment here to end without me lifting Him up and speaking His word. So I prayed for a little while. After the first few hours, I was still optimistic that I'd be found and go back and sleep in a warm, comfortable bed. During this time I was throwing up black stuff… not real sure what it was but it continued to come up. And as the moonlight changed directions, I could see it was blood. It began seeping from my nostrils as well..
I came to realize I would not be found by my people so it would be a true God send to be found at this point. And as I was throwing up, I kept continued getting cotton mouth worse and worse. I knew I'd have to save my voice and be able to make a ton of noise when the fishermen hit the water by early morning hours.
A little more time went by and I heard birds! I knew it was getting close so I started whistling and screaming for help and out of no where, a fisherman Jim Higgins showed up right around 7 AM. I was happy, yet sore, tired, hurting, cold and scared. I had a huge relief off my shoulders seeing Jim pull up.
He immediately called the ambulance and soon I was on my way to the hospital where I stayed for 2 weeks at Conroe Regional. Between being embarrassed and scared, I didn't tell anyone except my family. But here are my raw notes:
After a near fatal accident where I almost fell in the water at lake Conroe at La Torretta resort. Here is the photo of my right hip approximately 24 hours later post accident. I went near the bulkhead at around 10:30 to 11 PM Friday night and slipped into a blind hole & got stuck where my upper body slung over the wooden deck leaving me upside down but still strapped in over my knees screaming/whistling for help until Jim Higgins found me around 7 AM the next morning. Obviously I am very grateful to have had Jim find me as he was fishing early that morning and even more lucky that my strap going over my knees helped save my life.
Here: is a list of the following events:
•Tear in my esophagus (absolutely no eating or drinking for 6 days) this was from where I continued to throw up and the blood or acid if you will, ate a hole in my esophagus.
•Extremely big bruise and whelping on my right kidney
• Throwing up blood
• Peeing blood
• Upon arrival - hypothermic state. 96.1°
• Diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis
•Miscellaneous cuts and scratches throughout the body i.e. hands, behind right ankle, right hip, small bruise on my four head, etc. etc.
• Road rash and cuts to my left hand.
• Urinary tract infection -Ecoli of urine
• Severally dehydrated
• Wound behind my right ankle
• Small wound on left wrist from water being on my hands all night
• Bruising on top outside of right hand
• Bruising and swelling continues to escalate on my right hip
• Rhabdomyolysis - swelling has remained the same in my right thigh (1.5 it's normal size)
• Gurgling sounds inside my intestines (began before I started eating**)
• Started swallowing again Thursday June 12 around 1:30 in afternoon
• My withdrawal symptoms dissipated due to the fact that I could take my meds orally after the 6 days, up to then, my skin was crawling the walls
• discharged June 20-5 PM - left the hospital with Stuart and Leighnae Dorow
It's been a long time since I've been the old James. Here's some explanation why: I was really having a hard time controlling my spasms so I decided to have the Baclofen pump trial. The trial was successful in eliminating the tightness & tone in my body, however, I was having a ton of neurological pain. It was some of the worst pain I had experienced up to that point in my life post injury. After a lot of Contemplation of having a Baclofen pump inserted into my body (they put the pump itself in your lower abdominal area on either your right or left side, it's your choice), I just knew I wouldn't hurt as I got adjusted to it being inside me but my biggest reasoning for getting it was so I could be cared for that much simpler.
on January 28, 2013 I had it implanted for good. I was soooo sore as I arrived home from tne operation the following day then after a few days past it wore off & I felt GREAT! I didn't hurt, I was taking less medicines & my body was tone & spasm free! I almost had to learn to live again having zero spasms not understanding how much I used my muscle tone to perform certain tasks.
Then my worst nightmare was coming and I could feel it creeping up on me as detoxination was taking place from certain meds as well as training riders at the track. I could not control myself riding across bumpy terrain because my entire body was that limp. And of course, I couldn't think straight because the medicines were leaving my system and it was eating my lunch, breakfast& dinner.
I had the pump lowered, highered, etc. but nothing seemed to get it to where I could be fully functional in all areas of life. I was becoming very concerned about the decision of having it installed.. I could sit in my chair while I was still MUCH better but I couldn't get around the tracks without almost tumping over everywhere and it was becoming quite frustrating. I am such a lively person and having the Baclofen in my system day and night, I felt drugged constantly. I did not feel alive at all. The big downfall to me feeling comfortable sitting down was my ankles would swell extremely bad and have softball sized ankles and really fluffy calves. Then they ran some tests and found I had a blood clot in one one my legs & that's when it really hit home that "maybe this wasn't the best idea."
I Decided to have it removed for good. No more zombie like days, no more tumping over in my chair constantly. I wanted "me" back. So as I am writing this my BP into dis only putting outo saline and my operation is 10 day from today! I couldn't be happier with my decision and going though the struggle of decreasing the pump then getting it removed… I'm stoked!
Every racer has their good days and a bad days.And I’m pretty sure every human being is aware of this..But you don’t always get to see the ugly.Here’s a pretty funny story from Oak Hill MX in Decatur, TX for any Loretta lynn’s area qualifier.
It was 2002 and I was racing my first year as an amateur expert & rode for American Honda and HHR.I had done a lot of dominating that year so to have this much bad luck my way, I was not expecting it.To began the day, my father and I were both sick.And every time I got out on the track I could never get my lines figured out. I fought the motorcycle all day long!My worst Moto finish that day was third.My best Moto finish that day was third.And so after my first Moto I wanted to get cleaned up, have a fresh start to the rest of the day and turn this third place finish into a Moto win.I’m washing my bike as the power washer goes out.So now I not only not winning motos, I’m not clean and I’m sick.
But when struggles continued.Continuously still fighting my way around the racetrack so I figured I might as well hang on to the third place finish and Not ruin on a bad day.So now we are a little ways past the halfway mark of the first round of motos as I’m sitting in the van and the generator goes out.At this point I really couldn’t believe the dark cloud that was lingering over us.
I continued to take my Moto beatings from Adam Mennenga and Eduardo Rojas. We qualified easily for the regional qualifier which ultimately meant the most and everyone knew that but we were just having one of those days.I was just ready to accept the beating then go home.
My old man wasn’t feeling too well so I figured I would drive us home.And it was our typical drive home, nothing out of the ordinary.And since we live in south Houston, Oakhill was around six hour drive for us.We swapped seats in my dad drove us the last wing.As we were just making our way through downtown we had a blowout on the rainier inside tire that destroyed the gas line and a few other things.
So always push yourself no matter what your situation looks like.Believe me when I say it, everyone has their struggles even if they are not visible.Push yourself, make smart decisions, all the decisions and you will reach your goal in whatever that is.
But on days like this, make sure you live to ride another day.
There is nothing better than a great rivalry.It’s something that’s always on your mind and it can consume you if you let it.Plus, there is nothing better for the fans!
I was a very aggressive racer, but so was a friend of mine named Justin Smith.He was driven in different ways and we both had bad taste in our mouths if the other won. When we race each other is seemed like the battle would always so heated that the racing would almost become dirty.I would get knocked down by him and then be so driven to get him back!And vice versa.
I remember very vividly a week where I babysat my handicap little brother and I think I may have practiced one time.Although, I did hit the gym each night. It was just following Loretta lynn’s and since I did not reach my goals I was more driven to dominate regionally.Once again, I found myself battling with Justin Smith.I remember having to catch up to him at a track in Oklahoma named Cooperland.Once I caught up to him he began to block me, so I squared him up and made a simple pass.We went a few corners then there was a right hander with no track markers.He cut all the way across the inside, off the track and slammed the heck out of me!Ha ha!We went a few more corners and the fell over all by himself.I made sure he can hear me laughing as I rode by!
There’s a mother memorable moment with Justin at village creek.We found ourselves one and two through the whole shot then we would battle it out every race.The way the track went through the finish line area, it’s sort of made an S shape around and we raced back up a pretty speed hill with a few step ups and doubles.Justin was leading and I was chasing him very close.We made the right hander were the start and track connect and battled our way up the hill.When we got to the top there was another right hander.Of course, I was on the outside.. So I held it wide open and leaned to my right as hard as I could because I knew Justin would come in there and slam me.But this time he hit me and fell over!Once again, I made sure he could hear me laughing as I rode off.
Lake Whiney, TX. We were there for the GNC Grand National Championship.I was leading by around 5 to 7 seconds.I was comfortable and everything was flowing and then all of a sudden I see Justin catching up.My nerves kick in and I begin to think about what he is doing behind me.This was not good at all.The last lap seemed like one of the longest I have never ridden.He caught up to me in the back section in the super deep sand and came into wide open and cleaned out my front end.I had the championship wrapped up and I gave it away.On top of that I got stuck in the sand.I thank my result was a 1-30ish?? So of course I wanted revenge, but had to wait for another day.
Today we live much different lives.We no longer are aggressive toward each other.What is crazy though, is career ending crash was in San Diego and so was mine.Justin Smith suffered a brain injury in the Qualcomm stadium in 2002.Myself, suffered a spinal cord injury in the Qualcomm stadium in 2006.So it is always fun to look back and enjoy those aggressive moments!
Make sure and pin it but safety first.Live to ride another day.