Learning to walk again

Naugatuck resident Bill Shannon, who was paralyzed in a fall in 2011, walks out of the Beacon Brook Health Center April 3. -LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGAUTUCK — Bill Shannon was cleaning his gutters in the fall of 2011 when his life was changed forever.

Shannon, a Naugatuck resident, fell from his ladder and shattered his spine and bone fragments went into his nerves. He lost feeling from the waist down and was unable to walk.

He came to Beacon Brook Health Center on Dec. 1, 2011 in a wheelchair. When he was checked in, he made it his goal to leave the health center by walking out the front door.

On April 3, four months after he was wheeled into the health center, Shannon made his goal a reality.

The staff who had taken care of him throughout his stay lined up along the hallway, holding a sign that read “good luck.”

Carol Shannon, Shannon’s wife, thanked the staff for everything they did for her and her husband during his time at the health center. She told them that any expectations she had in the beginning had been exceeded.

“We are overwhelmed by the dignity and compassion we were shown,” she said. “Please be proud of everything you do.”

When it came time for Shannon to leave, he was in a wheelchair until he reached where the staff had lined up. He is only able to walk 85 feet, but that would get him past the staff and through the front door.

Shannon, who was wearing a shirt that read “Never Quit,” slowly rose out of his wheelchair. He took small but confident steps, smiling the whole time.

Under his own power, Shannon walked out the front door of Beacon Brook Health Center.

After he exited the health center, Shannon said he was thrilled with the progress he has made so far and appreciates everything the staff at Beacon Brook did for him.

He knows that he still has a long way to go, but he is already focused on the next phase of his recovery and is keeping up his positive attitude.

“I’m looking forward to overcoming the next challenge,” Shannon said.