Watertown Man Proves Doctors Wrong

I’ve known Jimmy Yonkovig since before I can remember. We spent many days together as kids pretending we were He-Man or practicing our Michael Jackson dance moves. When Jimmy was injured in a car accident in 2005, it was a very dark time for all who knew him. Facing difficult odds, he has come quite a ways since that fateful day. I was delighted to find a story about him in my email inbox. Please take the time to read it.

From 7 News:

Thursday, June 28, 2007, 2:35pm

On November 10, 2005, James Yonkovig was critically injured in a two car accident in the town of Watertown.

Jimmy, as he’s known to his friends, suffered severe head injuries in the crash and was hospitalized in Syracuse.

“The neurosurgeon there told us we could never expect anything from him, that he probably wouldn’t walk and wouldn’t talk and we couldn’t expect great things. It really made me furious,” said Jimmy’s mother, Gretchen Rowland.

Gretchen said she’d like to show that doctor just how wrong he was.

After a year and a half of recovery, Jimmy can not only walk, but he can also talk.

He speaks with the aid of a Servox artificial larynx (pictured above).

“If I had given up, I’d be a vegetable forever,” Jimmy said.

On Wednesday, Jimmy was released from Watertown’s Samaritan Keep Home, where he had been recovering for a year.

The staff joined family and friends in wishing the 27 year old Watertown man well as he prepared to go home.

Jimmy and his mother hope his story inspires others.

“Anyone that has something like this happen to them, I don’t want them to give up. I want them to keep going,” said Jimmy.

His mother echoed the sentiment.

“There is no such thing as ‘can’t’ because the minute you say you can’t do something, you’ve defeated yourself,” said Gretchen.

Jimmy has lived by those words for more than a year. With the help of his family, friends and therapists, he’s moving on to enjoy the life he fought so hard to get back.

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