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After terrifying wreck, determination shines

In July of last year, Reid Roller suffered terrifying injuries in an automobile accident. He sustained a spinal cord injury and was left paralyzed from the chest down. Although not realized until later, he also had a broken jaw.  This resulted in his jaw being wired shut for six weeks following surgery whereupon he was relegated to a liquid diet. 

Transported from Halifax Regional Hospital to Duke University Medical Center, he was treated in ICU for four days before being transferred to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Shepherd Center is a nationally recognized rehab center for spinal cord and acquired brain injuries. Reid spent eight weeks as an inpatient at The Shepherd Center receiving medical care and physical and occupational therapy. 

He graduated from their inpatient program on Sept. 17 and was able to come home for a few days.  

At the end of September, Reid returned to Shepherd for their outpatient program, a three and one-half week ordeal.  

At the beginning of November, he began participation in a research program at Shepherd on their Lokomat, a robotic treadmill. This was a four-month commitment in Atlanta during which time Reid and his mother stayed in an apartment near the Shepherd Center.  Every day they would travel to the Center for the Lokomat and other therapies.

Reid’s mother, Reya Roller, said the Shepherd Center is an amazing place, and they have some excellent therapists who have helped her son tremendously.  

Roller said her son’s very positive attitude and determination have been a driving force for him, his family and friends and even other patients at Shepherd.

Initially, Reid’s father, Bobby, accompanied him to Atlanta and, all totaled since the accident, was out of work for more than three months.  

When his mother was laid off from her job with Hospice of Virginia due to a downturn in business, she traveled to Atlanta so Bobby could come back home to resume work.  

Prior to the accident, Roller was working and going to school.  

The accident has placed a tremendous economic impact on the Roller family.  

Roller still has a long way to go with more expensive therapy.  He is scheduled to travel out of state to another center that specializes in back and spine injuries.  

From the beginning, the doctors have been very guarded in their prognosis, indicating a bleak future for Roller. However, his determination to reclaim his life already has proven the doctors wrong, and he has progressed far beyond what was ever expected.

As with any catastrophe of this kind, the medical bills are piled “sky high” and are still climbing.  

The Mt. Laurel Ruritan Club is planning a benefit for Roller on March 29 at the Mt. Laurel Ruritan Clubhouse, located at 5124 Mt. Laurel Road in Clover.  

This benefit is a full day’s event beginning at 11 a.m. with a stew, hot dogs and hamburgers, a barbecue supper, live music, an auction, prize drawings and fun for the young and old including face painting, corn hole and clowns.  

Music will be provided by Nellie Jones, Mark and Linda Satterfield, the Blue Grass Five, the Halifax Hillbillies and the Hard Times.  When Jones is not singing and picking her guitar, she will paint portraits and plans to donate all proceeds to the benefit.  

At this time, Ward Burton has donated some of his NASCAR memorabilia to the auction, and a nice sofa from Heritage House Furniture will be up for bid along with a custom, handmade gun cabinet and other items yet to come. 

Roller is scheduled to attend the benefit.  He hopes to see and talk with everyone and thank all for their support.