Why Walk When You Can Roll?

by Allison

UroMed founder, Bert Burns, was recently the subject of his 11 year old daughter Emma’s, school assignment, ‘Who is your hero?’. Emma’s heartwarming narration of how her dad became a quadriplegic, and later became her hero and inspiration, reminds us that we all are heroes to someone in one way or another. 

Why Walk When You Can Roll? 

By Emma Burns, age 11

“As my dad was telling me the story, he exclaimed  “So I roll instead of walk, no big deal!” It was January 19, 1982, and my dad was 20 years old. He was in college attending the University of Central Florida as a sophomore. He was working as a waiter and bartender at Steak & Ale. Dad was born in Mobile, Alabama but at the time lived in Orlando, Florida. It seemed like an ordinary day to him but it became a day that would change his life forever.

Emma Burns considers her dad to be her hero!

My dad was strong, had brown hair, and was an amazing football player in his high school years. It was a cool winter day in Orlando. My dad was driving his 1975 Datsun 280z along the main road. As he approached a busy intersection, a Ford station wagon came barreling towards him at a speed of 70 mph. The driver of the vehicle was a 17 year old drunk driver. When the car collided into my dad, he heard glass shattering! Immediately he felt pain all over his body. My father, Bert, was ejected out of the car and landed 40 feet away. He was knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital. He was officially a quadriplegic. My dad woke up later in a hospital with many of his close friends nearby, “When something like this happens, you really learn who your true friends are”, my dad said. He was scared and didn’t know what life could be like in a wheelchair. He thought his life was over, but then met someone who had a similar experience and had been in a wheelchair for a while. That man showed my dad that even if you only have wheels life can still be good!

Bert and Emma Burns at the 2012 London Olympics.

My dad’s experience that day was life-changing. However, he went on to do things he never thought possible. He has made a successful business called UroMed, which sells medical supplies to people all over the country. He also won a gold medal in wheelchair racing at the Paralympics in Barcelona, Spain in 1992. He now has a wife, Joy, two kids – my brother Will and me, and a dog named Murphy! He has learned from this experience never to give up. My dad is an inspiration to me! I have learned not to give up early when you could be doing something amazing later. We can all make a difference!”

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