Paralyzed Forsyth man turns his passion into a career

Paralyzed man turns his passion into a career

Nearly 20 years ago, an accident in Forsyth changed one man's life forever.

Driving home from a party less than a mile away from his home, John Belknap fell asleep and nearly died in a single-vehicle accident.

"I went across the road, hit an embankment, and the whole drivers side of the car caved in on my head and it broke every bone in my neck except for one," said Belknao. "According to the doctors, if I broke that one bone, I would've died instantly on the scene."

He was paralyzed from the shoulders down, but through therapy, he was able to regain motion in his arms.

Belknap says adjusting to his new life had unexpected difficulties.

"Getting out in the community again it was kind of hard because I did spend 22 years walking around. Now I'm in a wheelchair and at first I was self-conscious of everyone staring at me," he said.

But even though his accident changed his life physically, he says he always tried to stay positive mentally and finding a new a source of therapy for him just clicked.

 

"Photography got me back out in the public and it's taken me places that I never dreamed of going and meeting a lot of people I never thought I would meet," said Belknap. "When I'm taking pictures, I like to find the beauty in things, so I'm always looking for that and trying to capture memories because the older you get you realize life flies by."

Soon thereafter, Belknap was able to turn his passion for photography into a career.

He says through all of the hardships, getting to do what he loves is truly a blessing.

"I feel like someone is watching over me up there, so hopefully they will keep leading me down the right path," he said.

Belknap says along with his photography, he has also become a mentor for people who are adjusting to life in a wheelchair.

He says he enjoys encouraging patients to find the same beauty in life that he tries to find every day, and letting them know there is more to life after an accident.

If you'd like to see more of Belknap's work click here.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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