It was New Year’s Eve in 2019 when Gary Miracle’s life changed forever.
The father of four from Rockledge, Florida, suffered a blood infection and septic shock that led to cardiac arrest. At the hospital, his life was saved by a cardiac surgeon who just happened to be nearby when he coded.
The surgeon saved Gary’s life using an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, but unfortunately, his limbs could not be revived. After spending 10 days in a coma and 117 days in the hospital, Gary was ultimately discharged having lost all four limbs below his elbows and knee joints. Through it all, the one thing he never lost was his faith!
A devout Christian, Gary set out to live up to his last name: Miracle. Not content to merely learn to walk again, he was determined to get back to the athletic world he’s always loved, like running and coaching youth soccer.
He received an outpouring of love and support from his friends, family, and community, including the Christian rock band MercyMe, who wrote a song called “Say I Won’t” in his honor.
Gary refuses to allow anyone to feel sorry for him, choosing instead to use his condition as a teachable moment for others.
“Everyone has my permission to stare and ask questions,” he said. “If I can show 7- or 8-year-old kids another side of life, to show them that they can overcome all obstacles, I’m happy.”
His goal is to ditch his electric wheelchair for good, and he’s worked hard in rehab to get there. When his custom prosthetic limbs were finally ready to use, he celebrated by completing his first 1-mile jog on a treadmill.
The next step was to participate in an even longer race, so Gary signed up to run in the Tailgate 2 Miler, a 2-mile footrace in Viera, Florida.
“Yeah, you don’t usually see guys without arms and legs (in footraces),” he joked.
On August 15, Gary accomplished his mission by crossing the finish line on his “brand new pair of legs!” His “Say I Won’t” team was comprised of over 200 others, many of whom have limb differences of their own.
While Gary could have gotten stuck in regret and grief, he has chosen to inspire, motivate, and educate others instead. He’s acutely aware of how close he came to dying, and he’s not going to waste his second chance at making an impact in life.
“I could have lost my (hands and feet), but I could have lost everything,” he said. “Now I get emails from people across the world, people who want to tell their stories, and the most humbling part is that God has kept me in this position, a position in which I am able to speak and listen.”
“At the end of the day, we all have our struggles,” Gary added. “Mine are just more visible.”
Gary is literally a walking miracle! His positive attitude is helping so many others overcome their struggles, and we are in awe!
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