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On the morning of July 10, 2019, Kelly Wood was riding his motorcycle to his new job in downtown Dallas unaware of what changes were about to happen. Moments later, he was caught in a seven-car pileup where his left leg was caught between a car and his bike. After a day of surgeries, the decision was made to amputate Kelly’s leg above the knee.

“At first, the greatest challenge for me was letting go of what I thought my life would be if I didn’t lose a leg.” 

“I missed running and certain activities that really require both legs and I also found that it took more work for me to perform simple everyday tasks. Most everything became a lot easier with time, practice, determination, and consistency.”

Remarkably, in less than twelve months, Kelly has immersed himself in recovery and healing, competed in two Spartan races, snowboarded, and surfed with the attendees at our first Forge Men’s Retreat in Kauai. “I stood up on a surfboard on my very first wave,” Kelly reflects excitedly. “They helped me do things that I thought weren’t possible, and to deal with and accept what has been put in our lives [as amputees] and learn how to use it for the greater good.”

Joyfully Serving Others

With the recent COVID-19 crisis, Kelly is now focusing his energy and momentum on helping children in his home state of Texas. “I will go where God takes me,” he says. “And I am currently running a COVID Hunger Relief Effort, feeding around 160 kids a day that normally rely on government-provided meals through the schools.”

“From my faith’s perspective, I just felt peace and hope. I knew God could still use me even if I only had one leg.”

Service has been a key part of Kelly’s life since he was young. “Probably the best core practice that brings me joy is serving others,” he reveals. “Since I was 12, I began serving others and my life has been filled with so many great experiences and truly genuine people. I love the people that I serve and could not imagine a different life.”

His work began at a mission in his hometown. “This really helped me to see Christ’s heart and learn how he would have loved and cared for his flock,” he shares. “He went the distance for us to have this life, how could I waste it? I have lived my life inspired by the Love and Hope that Christ brings, and I strive to be more like him daily.”

Kelly’s faith played a major role in his recovery from his accident as well. “From my faith’s perspective, I just felt peace and hope. I knew God could still use me even if I only had one leg.”

Celebrating Survivors – Limb Loss Awareness Month

Kelly has become a huge advocate for Limb Loss Awareness Month as well. “To me, it’s a celebration of survivors,” he explains. “It’s recognizing a group of humans that have endured trauma and saying, “We see you!” And I have met so many great people in the amputee community, so I think it is a great thing to raise awareness of the journey.”

Through his journey, Kelly has had a great many supporters and practices that have helped him heal and persevere. “I think the biggest things that made a difference was faith and my community,” he begins. “The kids and my church family at my outreach organization helped me to be strong and understand that my new journey is all a part of God’s plan! They never treated me differently.”

Kelly has also been supported by the Adaptive Training Foundation and Martin Bionics Clinical Care. These organizations helped him mentally, physically, and spiritually face and overcome the challenges of a new amputee. Martin Bionics also made it possible for Kelly to receive his new leg quickly.

Gratitude and focus are important to Kelly. “I am blessed to have a very close group of family and friends that keep my spirits up and my mind focused on asking ‘what’s next?’ not ‘why did this happen to me?’”

“Seeing Bethany overcome losing a limb and get back to life helped me to know I could too.”

Bethany’s Inspiration

Kelly knew Bethany’s story before his accident. “I had watched Soul Surfer and had always admired Bethany,” he shares. “When I got into my accident and found out there was a possibility that I would be losing a limb I thought about her story. I wasn’t afraid because I knew life wouldn’t be over. Seeing Bethany overcome losing a limb and get back to life helped me to know I could too.”

Next on Kelly’s agenda is competing for a spot on the National ParaSnowboarding and ParaSurfing teams, and to get a running leg soon so he can begin training. “My long-term goal is shooting for a spot on the Paralympic team,” he envisions. “Possibilities inspire me, and I am so enamored by the thought of all the things to come! I have big dreams and aspirations, and the thought of accomplishing those goals helps to keep the drive alive.”

See Kelly and all the action from The Forge Men’s Retreat!

Make Incredible Things Happen

Help further our mission and programs that support young people living with limb difference or those who’ve experienced traumatic limb loss by making a tax-deductible donation.