Paralyzed Plummer man hopes for help fixing specialized van - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Paralyzed Plummer man hopes for help fixing specialized van

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PLUMMER, Idaho -

Back in 2015, a North Idaho man was ambushed by a gunman. Four shots left him paralyzed from the neck down. His family spent every cent they could buying him a handicap accessible van to help him still do some of the things he loves. That van is now having major engine problems. With nowhere else to turn, the family said "Help Me Hayley."

"I looked over, I (saw) him raise the gun," victim Joe Seyler said. "I was basically begging and pleading for him to not shoot (anymore.)"

Seyler said he never saw it coming. He said he was shot by an acquaintance who he believes was high on drugs. He was ambushed as he slept on a friend's couch.

"There was a loud shot and a burning pain in my neck," he said. "That's what paralyzed me from the neck down."

He was also hit in both lungs.

"I flat lined (multiple) times," he said. "They said it's a miracle I am here."

But that's not how he felt at first.

"I remember trying to get up," he said. "I started crying. I basically told (my grandmother) I wished I was dead."

He has spent several months working hard to adapt to his new norm. Seyler had to learn to talk again and works daily to cope with the pain.

"I'll never be able to play basketball again, hold my daughter, hug any of my loved ones," he said.

But there are things he can still do that bring him happiness. He said he needs his beloved van to make it happen.

"It means going places," he said. "Being a part of family functions, or going to town, shopping, movies."  

His mother bought him the van with every penny she could spare. They say it ran great at first, but now has severe engine problems. The family is too scared to drive Joe anywhere in it because they think it's close to breaking down for good. They just want someone to give them a diagnosis, but money is very tight.

"It's just hard," his sister said.

The family reached out to Hayley hoping someone in the community could connect with her who has experience working on this type of van.

"Give us some hope," his mother said. "Please, give Joe some hope."

If you have the ability to help the family, you can email Hayley at hayley.guenthner@khq.com.

The man who shot Joe was arrested and is serving time. 

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