The fund for paralyzed Cal-Berkeley rugby player Robert Paylor crossed the $500,000 mark as the Jesuit High School graduate thanked those who have “given him strength.”
The GoFundMe account reached $543,000 toward its $1 million goal for Paylor on Wednesday. The donations came from a variety of people, including parents whose children were also paralyzed playing sports, teammates, Jesuit classmates and teachers, family, old friends of Paylor and strangers.
“I wanted to let everyone know how much your generous support means to me,” a statement approved by Paylor said on his GoFundMe page. “It is truly overwhelming and humbling. Reading your comments has given me strength to persevere through my most difficult moments. I know that with your help I will fight through this and believe I will reach my ultimate goal of living a normal life.”
Paylor, a 20-year-old sophomore, suffered a crushed vertebrae on May 6 during a match for the national rugby championship against Arkansas State.
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He underwent emergency surgery Saturday at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he is paralyzed from the chest down. He may remain at the center for months.
Some days are better than others. The El Dorado Hills resident seems up to the challenge:
“This will be a long and challenging journey, but ‘God gives his toughest challenges to his toughest soldiers.’ Thank you and God bless, Robert.”
His father, Jeff Paylor, said the only way his son can communicate is by raising an eyebrow to signify “yes” or “no.” Sometimes, when his son’s hand is squeezed, the athlete can squeeze back.
Paylor is participating in occupational and physical therapy. In addition, he has breathing treatments to help clear his throat and lungs.
A video of Paylor being helped from a chair to his bed was posted on the GoFundMe page. Family friend and GoFundMe organizer Jennifer Douglas noted that Paylor is lifted in and out of bed several times per day to spend an hour or two sitting upright.