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On Saturday Aug 13, 2005, Richard and three close friends were body surfing in Manasquan, NJ. Richard was a strong, experienced swimmer, but on this day, he was unable to successfully pull up and out of a very powerful wave, which drove him headfirst into the bottom of the sea floor, breaking his neck.

His friends saw him motionless in the water and fought the pounding waves to get Richard to shore. He was taken immediately to the trauma unit at Jersey Shore Medical Center where Richard found out that he sustained a spinal cord injury to his C4 and C5 vertebrae. Richard received two surgeries to stabilize his spine and replace the shattered vertebrae.

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February 11, 2016

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May 31, 2007

Dear Richard,

I recently read your story and I am a local in Pt. Pleasant Beach. Your story is inspirational to people out there! My Mom, Maxine Kell just had a Small Bowel Transplant at the University Medical Center of Pittsburgh on May 15, 2007. She is doing well and looking forward to a smooth recovery period. I will share your story with my Mom. It is nice to see local people in this area that are affiliated with NTAF. If you wish to contact me, please feel free. You can reach me at or (862) 596-0267. I wish you a healthy recovery and success in your work and personal life! Take care of yourself. Best wishes, Stacy

Stacy Thompson, Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ