When Marshall Lindsay drove a four-wheeler off a 40-foot drop and subsequently broke his back and became partially paralyzed, doctors told him he would never walk again.
That was September 2009, and Lindsay, now 15, is not only walking without aids, but on Monday was also given national recognition for his vast amounts of volunteer work for various non-profit organizations, which all involved non-profit medical treatment.
Marshall was one of four runners-up in Utah for The Prudential Spirit of Community Award. The award is the largest nationwide recognition given that is based solely on youth service. The honor, which is a bronze plaque, will be presented at a school function at his school, Stansbury High, on a date that has yet to be announced.
Previous to Lindsay hearing about the award, he had already completed the charity work necessary for the honor. His involvement with service began in 2009, with his treatment at Primary Children’s Medical Center (PCMC). While going through extensive physical therapy, his doctor recommended Neuroworx, a non-profit, outpatient organization specializing in physical therapy.
“They do things there that would be impossible to accomplish elsewhere,” Lindsay said.
“They have some of the best therapists there I’ve ever seen.” Becoming somewhat of a spokesperson for Neuroworx, Lindsay spoke later that year at the Festival of Trees, and has since done TV interviews and radiothons — a radio interview played throughout the day encouraging donations to the program. In 2010, after many long weeks of physical therapy with Neuroworx, the organization also asked Lindsay to speak as a representative of the organization to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the LDS Church Office Building in Salt Lake City. “Most of his (Marshall’s) charity work has been as a spokesperson or advocate for paralyzed victims,” said Julie Lindsay, Marshall’s mother. Recently, Marshall also accompanied Neuroworx owner, Dr. Dale B. Hull, fellow Neuroworx patient, Eliza McIntosh, 18, and three-time paralympic gold medalist, Mike Schlappi, to meet with representatives from Zion’s Bank in order to raise $30,000 for wheelchair athletic programs in Utah.
When he heard about the Prudential Spirit of Community Award through his school counselor, Kim Herrera, it was these services that qualified him for the honor. He filled out an online application in November 2011, and finally heard back about the award this week.
“I was so excited because I’d been waiting for it for so long,” Marshall said.
Marshall said he plans to continue his volunteer work and service for non-profit disability organizations.
“Getting injured has really opened my eyes and life to opportunities whether it is in the classroom, prospective colleges or athletics,” Marshall said. Through all of the challenges since his back injury, Marshall said he has gained determination more than anything else in all aspects of his life.
“Before I got injured I had a very stereotypical view of people in wheelchairs,” he said. “Being injured, I got a whole other perspective on what can be accomplished in them. I was surprised when I realized that there was nothing I couldn’t do.”
Marshall has conducted several school assemblies to share his acquired perspective. Julie said he’s spoken twice at Rose Springs Elementary, and even made a helmet safety video for students there to watch. Marshall said he plans to speak at another assembly at SHS later this year.
“Nothing is impossible,” Marshall said. “You can’t assume you can’t do something before you’ve tried to do it, and give it your all. Most of the times you’ll surprise yourself and others.”