Many people believe that everything in life happens for a reason, even if we never truly understand what that reason is.
In 2011, Dr. Michael Shannon was driving his SUV down the Pacific Coast Highway in California when he was struck by a semi-truck. His car instantly burst into flames, trapping him inside.
Thankfully firefighters from Paramedic Engine 29 happened to be nearby. They rushed to the scene and discovered the doctor pinned inside his car as flames licked at his feet and legs. Using the Jaws of Life they were able to extract Michael and send him to the hospital with serious internal injuries.
In the ambulance, paramedic Chris Trokey was riding with Michael when he noticed the patient’s name. Instantly Chris wondered if it was possible that the man lying on the stretcher was the same Dr. Michael Shannon he’d heard about from his family members all his life.
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When Chris was born in 1986, he was 10 weeks premature and weighed just 3 lbs, 2 ounces. He was given a 50/50 chance of survival. His parents sought the help of Dr. Michael Shannon to save their son’s life.
“He was the type of guy you could talk to as if he was your brother,” Chris’s mother Dee recalled, “but you had confidence that he could do anything.”
It took 7 weeks in the NICU under Dr. Shannon’s care, but Chris pulled through and went home. Just days later, however, he developed a high fever. His worried parents took him to nearby Mission Hospital, where Dr. Shannon was already waiting for them. For the next two days the unflappable pediatrician stayed by Chris’s bedside night and day. On the third day the baby was finally sent home for good, but Chris’s family never forgot the doctor’s kindness and dedication.
Chris grew up hearing about how Dr. Shannon saved him as an infant. He couldn’t believe that the man he’d just helped pull from a burning car could be the same man, but as soon as Chris told the doctor his own name the penny dropped. Both men were astounded by the sheer coincidence that lead them to one another once again.
Chris and Michael later got together to raise over $12,000 for children’s cancer charity St. Baldrick’s. They also meet up for a meal every year on the anniversary of the car accident that reunited them.
“It’s amazing to watch them all grow up, but to have one come back in your life, on a day you really need it, that’s really incredible,” Michael said.
Chris is now the father of a son named Porter, and you’ll never guess who is Porter’s pediatrician! Yes, that’s right, it’s Dr. Shannon. This story truly comes full circle and makes us realize that there really are no coincidences. We are exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there!
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