The sun felt warm, a gentle breeze greeting his face on this particularly beautiful Portland, Oregon morning. The day was perfectly ripe for an invigorating motorcycle ride along a windy stretch of highway adjacent to the pristine and majestic views of the Columbia River.
As Barry was working his way down a relatively straight stretch of Marine View Drive, he impulsively decided to push the motorcycle, testing the bike’s limits and seeing just how fast could man and machine go!
Here is where Barry’s story and the stories for countless others who have made similar choices takes a daunting and fateful turn…changing his life the lives of those around him forever!
As the bike races past 100 mph, the engine whining and wind rushing past his body the moment taking on a surreal feeling…until suddenly another choice is made and this time it is by someone else.
Someone who is completely unaware of Barry, his bike, his location or the extremely high rate of speed at which he is traveling.
The driver of a vehicle in front of Barry’s Honda Interceptor motorcycle, deciding to turn left crossing his path, clipping the tail of his speeding bike, sending both man and machine into a unforeseen and irrevocably life changing moment.
Time seems to stop. Seconds turn to minutes. Minutes become hours, Barry’s brain frantically struggling to process the sensory overload of what is actually happening to both his bike and its rider. Fear racing through his body, adrenaline surging, painfully be forced to await the outcome of this devastating and final decision.
Complete silence. The motorcycle destroyed and laying in a thousand broken pieces, Barry’s back shattered in ten places, and quite honestly, most physicians not expecting him to survive the night.
What Barry learns when he eventually wakes up from the traumatic event taking place on that beautiful morning in 1991, is that he has become an “Extreme Survivor” and he can no longer feel a single thing from his chest down.
For many people, this devastating diagnosis would have spelled the end of all their hopes and dreams, but not for Barry. Most know, there are multiple stages one must work through when experiencing a serious loss of any kind.
And Barry would be remiss if he didn’t also mention, the literally countless hours and hundreds of extremely brutal, difficult days that paved the road to his eventual recovery.
But it was during that journey that he made a commitment to himself, refusing to let his accident and newfound paralysis define who he was and who he was going to be.
Barry was bound and determined to live his life to the fullest, and although his physical body may be bound to a chair, his spirit is going to continue soaring higher than ever.
I am Barry Long and this is my True North Story®.
For more information on Barry’s public speaking, visit his Talk and Roll website HERE.