The best way to move on is to forgive. Just ask Dean Otto, who ran the Napa Half-Marathon with the driver who hit him while he was cycling.
Otto, 52, who resides in Charlotte, N.C., was struck on his bike from behind by a truck driven by 27-year-old Will Huffman in September of 2016.
Huffman slammed on his brakes to provide roadside aid to Otto, who could not feel anything from the waist down, according to the Napa Valley Register.
Otto had suffered a broken back, a broken pelvis, a broken tailbone, a broken leg and fractured ribs. Doctors gave him just a 2 percent chance of walking again.
However, because Otto was whisked into surgery so quickly by Carolinas HealthCare System Neurosciences Institute neurosurgeon Matthew McGirt, M.D., Otto is not only up and walking, but running.
A day after the complicated procedure, Otto asked McGirt if he was up for a little wager.
“The stakes? If Dean could wiggle his big toe, which would be a first after surgery, then McGirt, 42, would have to run a half marathon alongside him,” Jennifer Huffmon from the Napa Valley Register wrote.
McGirt had never run more than three miles in life, so when Otto wiggled those toes, the doctor knew it was time to gear up.
As Otto was making his comeback physically, he knew there was more work to be done from a mental standpoint. He wanted to reach out to Huffman to offer forgiveness.
“It takes a lot to forgive, but it takes even more to form a friendship. Dean hasn’t just forgiven me and moved on, he’s gone a step further to really get to know me,” Huffman said.
“He’s been able to see past what happened and look forward to how we can work together to help others.”
So, a year to the day of the accident, Otto, Huffman and McGirt, three unlikely friends, toed the start line in Napa and hammered out 13.1 miles in under two hours.
Otto also raised money for the LIFE (Living Fit and Engaged) Program at Carolinas Rehabilitation, which is a 12-week outpatient program that assists people with spinal cord injuries and gets them on track to return to work, school and “regular” life.
Here’s more from The Today Show:
Way to go, guys, on so many levels.