Monday, May 30, 2011


Over the last two months Gates’ experience has been the catalyst of many things.  It’s forced most, if not all, of us to remember what’s really important in life.  His experience brings thousands of otherwise “strangers” together in daily, unified prayer and Gates’ experience has shown the masses how an upbeat, faithful frame of mind will work miracles in the life of a single person.

Gates’ trial has also prompted others, who have had similar life challenges, to act as a theoretical “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Over the next few Sundays, I intend to publish the stories of those individuals, who have stepped forward, with words of encouragement, communicating through the most powerful transfer of emotion I could imagine:  Empathy. 

The last eight weeks blessed me to learn of several extraordinary people, one of which I am excited to introduce to you tonight, followed by various others in the weeks to come. 

Tonight, I introduce to you, Julie Jorgensen

But first… 

Gates, as you’ve learned, is a magnet of people; his disposition not only draws you towards him but also obligates you to enjoy some of the small pleasures in life while in his presence. 

This past week his independences allowed him to board the Trax Train at the hospital, venturing downtown and finally to The Gateway Shopping Plaza.  It was there, in the abnormally cool May temperatures, he zigged and zagged through the water fountains, bringing smiles and laughter to onlookers, as the frigid waters drenched him, hoodie and all.

Julie Jorgensen, in her words:

"I was a high school athlete in Oregon.  I lived in a small farming community but our little high school girl's basketball team garnered the State's attention in the early 80's as we set the high school record for most games won in a row.  We went 79-0 over the course of 3 years and we won 3 state championships in a row.  I was fortunate to start and play in every one of those games.  My hope was to walk on to the BYU basketball team at some point.

"I was scheduled to leave for college in early September of 1983 and on August 21st I was driving a friend's son, who was 12 years old, outside of town to change his sprinkler pipes.  Just outside of town, on a two-lane highway, a pick-up truck pulled out in front of me, headed in the same direction.  I decided to pass him and as I pulled out to go around him, I saw his brake lights go on.  I was in a small, compact car and I instinctively knew something wasn't right.  I slammed on my brakes, but he didn't see me and turned into my car.  He caught the back of my car and I rolled 1 1/2 times and landed in the bar pit with the driver side down. I broke my back and was paralyzed from the waist down. I had crushed my L1 vertebrae.

"I was flown to Seattle, WA where I spent the next two months in Harborview Medical Center. They put Harrington rods along my spine and those were removed a few months later.

"I regained the use of some of the muscles in my lower body, but not all of them. I am fortunate to be mobile, but I was never able to play ball again. I wear lower leg braces and I have some internal issues but I have a great life.

"I made it to BYU eventually and met my husband. We own a ranch and I am the mother of five children. Two of my sons will be playing football for BYU this fall. One of my sons is on a mission and will return home this fall as well.

"The journey Gates will be taking is very hard, but he will learn things about himself that the Lord wants him to know. He will find strength and comfort through family, friends and even strangers. I hope he remembers that he was trusted enough by our Heavenly Father to go through this trial. There are great blessings in store for him."

1 Year Ago - Julie Jorgensen's Oldest Son's Wedding

1 comment:

  1. Gates, my 2 favorite quotes go as fallows, "Do NOT let what you can't do in life keep you from doing what you can do." "Pain is only temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or even a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever." I hope those can give you a small bit of support. You can do anything with Christ on your side. Keep it up!