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Family rallies around Berks man left paralyzed after freak accident

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 30 2014 09:35:25 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 01:32:50 PM CST

One Berks County family is praying for a miracle, that their 74-year-old loved one will one day walk on his own again.

UNION TWP., Pa. -

One Berks County family is praying for a miracle: that their 74-year-old loved one will one day walk on his own again.

Last September, William Burkhart lost his footing while on his way to pick up his dog, Bruce, from the groomer.

William said he hit a tree, broke his neck and severely damaged his spine. He's now confined to a wheelchair.

He said this about how his life has changed, "You don't want to know. Terrible."

Now, Burkhart needs 24-hour care. His family tirelessly pitches in, and his wife, Dolly, quit her job to be by her husband's side.

For Dolly, holding back the tears is impossible.

"It's hard. I mean he's always been the strength. He's always taken care of me. Now, he can't," Dolly said.

Burkhart's dog is his best therapy, and his family gives him strength to never give up.

"If it wasn't for them," he said, "I'd probably go out and run into a tree."

A sense of humor offers relief from the troubles, like the medical costs. The list of medications is long and costly, and Burkhart and his wife lost most of their savings during the recession.

The cost to transport Burkhart to the hospital is more than the family can bear. They said if someone is willing to donate a wheelchair accessible mini-van, they'll take it.

A fundraiser for the Burkhart family is being held Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Birdsboro Fire Company, 214 West 1st St., in Birdsboro.

For more information about how to help, you can contact the family through its Facebook page.