You may have heard the story. You may think you understand the challenges Devon Gales and his family have faced over the last 2 years since Devon suffered a traumatic spinal injury during a football game between the University of Georgia and Southern University. There’s always more to the story, however, and for Devon and the Gales family, there’s a lot more life to live.
Starting the next chapter is where we can help.
If you do a Google search for “Devon Gales”, chances are you’ll find pictures of a smiling young man, probably wearing a cross around his neck, and possibly with his Mom, Tish, close by his side. Those are just a couple of the things that have helped Devon through many of the adversities he’s faced in his life.
Devon has been dealing with challenges since the day he was born. He was born with a birth defect and almost didn’t make it through his first few days. He persevered from the outset, however, and the world has gained a shining, happy smile, with a spirit to match, as a result.
Through the adversity in his life, Devon’s parents, Tish and Donny, have always pointed to God’s plan. It’s been through this profound faith instilled in the entire Gales family that they have pressed forward, confident that God has a plan and a place for us all.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to that long-instilled faith was first realized on September 26th, 2015.
Devon had only received a few chances to play in the first half of the game. He was committed to do his part on a kickoff return at the beginning of the 2nd half. He saw that opportunity present itself as Georgia’s kicker, Marshall Morgan, charged down the field. Devon put his all into a block, trying to slow Marshall down and, moments later, he was lying on his back, staring at the clear blue September sky, unable to move his legs.
Tish and Donny had been unable to make the trip to Athens for the game. As they watched from the family’s home in Baton Rouge, The report was that a “Southern player was down on the field.” Tish’s motherly instinct kicked in and she knew Devon was hurt. Getting information about Devon’s status was difficult at first. When a nurse from Athens Regional Hospital finally called, Tish’s only question was “Do I need to be on the next flight to Georgia?” The nurse’s quick response was “Yes, I think so.”
In the days, weeks, months and now years since Devon’s life changing injury, the Gales’ faith in God has only been solidified. They readily admit that, in fact, there have been days that God is the only thing that has gotten them through. Devon and his family remain convinced that everything happens for a reason, including life altering football injuries that lead to the next chapter of Life which God has planned.
Over the last 2 years, heroes have emerged. There have been many different individuals who have stepped in and filled a role in Devon’s recovery. Through it all, Devon maintains that he will walk again, and no one questions that. Even the best doctors agree that if Devon walks again, when Devon walks again, it will be a miracle. All agree, however, that miracles do happen.
Challenges with that goal still remain. Devon has made grand strides, so to speak, in his own personal recovery. He readily admits that it hasn’t been easy. He says he ponders the “why” it had to happen to him, but he doesn’t linger on it. He’s confident there’s a reason and he’s ready, every day, to try his best to figure it out.
There is no quit in Devon, or the Gales family. They know what real, life changing adversity looks like. As a matter of fact, they have stared down that adversity and fought it back with big smiles, the kind of smiles that start from the eyes and end up at the curve of the cheeks. They know what Godly Love looks like and they embody it every day.
As the Gales have continued down this path which God has placed them on, adversities have continued, as well. Their home in Baton Rouge was in an area which flooded only a few months ago. They had previously been struggling with the idea of moving the family to Atlanta. Moving to Georgia would put Devon closer to the care of The Shepherd Spinal Center and the expert care there. The flood, they decided, was another way of God telling them “it was time.”
The Gales now rent a home in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Promises have been made to build a suitable home for Devon and the Gales and, finally, welcome them home to Georgia.
Promises have been made, and now it’s time to ensure that promises will be kept. Ensuring Devon and the Gales have a suitable place to call Home will help them move on to the next chapter of life.
No one knows exactly what that future looks like, except that, for Devon, he knows it includes him walking again. And sooner, rather than later. Let’s do our part to help this Bulldog attain that goal. Thanks in advance for your help.