Canyon Laker faces toughest challenge

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Ali Gray’s motorcycle accident caused his spinal cord to sever between the t4 and t5 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. Pictured with Ali are his children, 18-year-old Nathan, 13-year old Noelle and 10-year-old Noah. Photo by Pat Van Dyke

Feb. 23, 2019 was a cool but sunny Saturday when Ali Gray drove to the Perris Motocross Track. Little did 42-year-old Ali realize that on this day his life would take a sudden turn and that he would be placed into the toughest contest of his life.

Ali mounted on his motocross bike and the next thing he remembers is lying on the track with individuals attempting to aid him as he had been seriously injured. He remembers very little of that ride or how the accident happened, but the remainder of the event is very clear.

On that fateful Saturday, Ali was placed in an ambulance and transported to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar where the doctors determined that Ali’s injuries were extremely serious. He was transported via helicopter to Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) in Loma Linda.

At LLUMC, the doctors determined that his spinal cord had been severed between the t4 and t5 vertebrae which indicated that Ali would be paralyzed from the chest down. Thoracic and spinal surgeries were performed, and he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit for two weeks followed by two additional weeks in LLUMC to begin his therapy regiment.

Now that he is home in Canyon Lake, his therapy continues with LLUMC sending a physical therapist and an occupational therapist to his home three days a week.

Life is now totally different for Ali, but his drive, determination and faith are still in place.

Ali’s three children often spend time with their father when they have a break from their school in Santee. All three of the children are amazing, very responsible and have a positive outlook regarding Ali’s future.

Ali has raced motocross for the past six years. Before his accident, he was racing about once a month. His hope is that he will ride his motorcycle again one day. Photo provided by Ali Gray

Ali is also thankful for the support of the Canyon Lake community. Presently, he is receiving meals daily from the “Meal Train” that has been set up in his name. Each day brings new challenges and neighbors stop in daily to check if there is anything they can do to help Ali better cope with his situation.

Members of Centerpoint Church in Murrieta have reached out to Ali with prayer support. He is so grateful for the concern that the men in his Bible study have shown to him. Ali feels the prayers of the entire congregation and states that those prayers are making a major difference in his attitude and healing.

When asked how the community of Canyon Lake can be of help to him and make life easier, Ali smiles and states, “The people of Canyon Lake have been wonderful. It’s nice to know that people care and it restores my faith in humanity. I just ask that they keep me in their thoughts and prayers.”

With the encouragement of a neighbor, Ali does share three immediate areas in which he needs help. Ali’s bathroom is not designed to handle his special needs. Taking a shower is impossible and the other facilities are far too small. Having the bathroom “handicapped ready” would make a world of difference.

Ali had always been a very active person. Before Feb. 23, he went to the gym at 4 a.m. to lift weights, worked on his yard and was a “do it yourself” person concerning updating his home. All these activities have now come to a grinding halt. Due to the heavy rains, Ali’s back yard is in dire need of care. He realizes that it no longer meets the requirements of Canyon Lake’s codes but is unable to correct it. His fence is also in need of repair.

Prior to the accident, Ali was in the process of putting down a tile floor in his home. The tile has been all laid but the baseboards, thresholds and other trimming have not been completed.

Ali also has a need for financial assistance. Anyone who wants to donate a meal or funds can do so through the “Meal Train” that has been established in Ali’s name at https://mealtrain.com/m1dgg6.

Ali’s LLUMC doctors summed up the miracle that Ali experienced. Ali was told that he should have died on impact but because of the miraculous fact that his aorta stayed intact, his life was spared. Even though the doctors told him that he had only a five to 10 percent chance of ever walking again, Ali is hopeful that he will be in that small percentage.

Through physical therapy, Ali is making remarkable progress. He is now able to transfer himself from his bed to his wheelchair and back again. A separated shoulder, which is healing quite nicely, prevented him from fully using his arms; however, that issue is improving every day.

Ali has a remarkable relationship with his Lord, Jesus Christ, which grows deeper every day. Just the comfort and assurance that he receives during his daily devotions have made a huge difference in his recovery. Ali shares that it is his faith and the prayers and concerns of the citizens of Canyon Lake that gives him the drive to become better each day.

Recovery will be a long, arduous journey but Ali is setting his goals high. His short-term goal is to become more independent each day. Simple chores are impossible at this time, but with Ali’s determination, each day is a bit easier.

Ali’s long-term goal is to walk again. “I’m a miracle already,” said Ali. “So, I might as well be a walking miracle!”

Ali and his family moved from nearby Corona to Canyon Lake in 2011. Impressed by the safety and quietness of the community, Ali knew that Canyon Lake would provide a wonderful environment for his young family. When asked what attracted him to Canyon Lake, Ali responded, “I got a steal of a deal on our house. I couldn’t pass it up.”

For the past eight years, Ali and his three children, 18-year-old Nathan, 13-year-old Noelle and 10-year-old Noah, have enjoyed many of the amenities of Canyon Lake. They all agree that living in a gated community is a plus along with having a swimming pool available for their use. During the summer, Tuesday Taco Night is a favorite family activity. Fiesta Days is always a highlight of the year which they enjoy with the many friends that they have made in Canyon Lake.

Ali knows first-hand what a blessing it is to live in Canyon Lake. The support of the Canyon Lake community has made a huge difference in his life. He loves the security and serene atmosphere, but since Feb. 23, he has learned to appreciate the loving care and concern that he has received from his wonderful neighbors and friends.

If you’d like to contribute to Ali’s Meal Train, visit https://mealtrain.com/m1dgg6

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