Todd Duitsman was enjoying a vacation in Hawaii when the unthinkable happened. Duitsman was body surfing at Big Beach on Maui along the shore break. A large wave picked him up, swept him inward and slammed him, head first in the sand. The incident left him paralyzed from the neck down and stranded for weeks with no way home.
It has been two weeks since the accident that left the Stanwood, Washington man paralyzed from the severe spinal injury he suffered in the accident. He has been recovering at Queens Medical Center on Oahu while he and his family tried to figure how to get him home. His condition requires that be transported by air ambulance. The cost of $50,000 is not covered by his insurance provider, Premera Blue Cross, and his family couldn’t come up with the funds.
A local new station shared the story of Duitsman’s situation. People from all points across the country were moved to contribute to help pay to bring the father of three back home. He could be leaving Hawaii as soon as this coming Saturday.
The surfer remains in a positive mood despite the painful injuries which will present challenges for him and his family for months and years to come. On a Facebook page dedicated to his recovery, a post on Thursday thanked those helping in “large ways and small” for their contributions, support and prayers.
With friends and family to help, Duitsman has shared videos of himself on the page. His spirit is inspirational. In one clip, he talks about how eager he is to get into rehab so he can walk again. He also says he will return to Hawaii some day because he loves it.