SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — John Tice never lets his wheelchair slow him down.
The fifth-grade math and science teacher has been named Teacher of the Year in Suffolk, and his seven-year-old twins, Colton and Kylee, say he is, “Awesome.”
Tice dreams of doing more. He was once an avid athlete, which is how he was injured. He slid headfirst into home plate in April 1998.
“I opened my eyes, I could barely breathe at all. I was just lying on the ground and the only thing I could move was my left hand a little bit,” Tice said.
Tice fell on his neck and broke it, paralyzing him from the chest down. He was just 18-years-old and his girlfriend, who is now his wife, Sheree, was only 16.
“A lot of people kept questioning, ‘Why you going to stay with him?’ And I kept saying, ‘He’s still the same person,’” Sheree said.
Tice defied doctors, barreling through school to get his degree in four years. Now, with that same dedication, he’s exercising two hours a day and eating healthy in hopes of getting an experimental stem cell procedure in Florida.
“I just hope to gain as much function back as possible, to get up and walk again to get better for my family,” Tice told WAVY.com
They want that too — more than anything.
“Being able to stand and give him a hug or walk together… would be great,” Sheree said through her tears.
“I want to see how tall he is,” Kyle said.
But before Tice even has the possibility of standing on his own, he needs others to stand up for him. His best friend Lance started a Go Fund Me page to raise the $30,000 they estimate he’ll need to pay for the procedure. It’s a lot of money, but a small price to pay for a man who never gives up.
“I see my chair sitting there waiting for me to get out of bed in the morning and then my heart kicks in and I say, ‘How can you quit? Don’t give up, you’ve got your wife and your kids your friends. You’ve got a classroom full of students waiting for you,” Tice said.
Tice hopes to begin the treatments before school starts again this fall. If you would like to help him get there, visit his Go Fund Me page.