(WVLA)- What started as a routine drive to the hardware store changed the trajectory of Joe Wills’ life.
“I think maybe I took life for granted a little bit too much before and now I cherish every minute no matter if I’m in pain or not,” Wills said.
For the first time the man who was always extremely active deals with a challenge he never thought he would have to face.
“It was a very different lifestyle that I was forced into,” he said.
The man who had a passion for running and won marathons is now wheelchair-bound.
“When you’re paralyzed you lose everything,” he said.
While on the interstate Wills says a distracted driver crashed into his vehicle, causing him and his wife to be ejected. They both were left fighting for their lives.
“[It] broke both my back and my wife’s back. [It severed] my spinal cord,” he said.
Wills didn’t give up. He says he used his wife as motivation.
“I’m just so appreciative of everything she does for me. She puts in two or three hours a day just caring for me. I just think that’s awesome and I adore her for it,” he said.
While Wills says the road hasn’t been easy, it’s been worth it.
“I try to make the best of it. I admit, I’ve cried but I’ve tried to move on and make the best of what God’s given me,” he said.
Now Wills dedicate his life to stop distracted driving. He goes to different schools to teach everyone that actions have consequences.
“Anything that distracts you from your primary job of taking that huge vehicle from point A to point B is a danger,” he said.
Wills says though the accident took away his ability to walk, it gave him the passion to help others.
Distracted driving can be anything that causes you to take your eyes off of the road, not just cell phones.