Big goals take a big commitment. It’s easy to let go of them somewhere along the way as life gets busy or challenges pop up.
Wesley Biddy made the decision that no wait is too long, no circumstance too hard to make justify giving up on a dream.
Wesley was the kind of kid who loved to keep moving. There was baseball and swimming. Wresting with is younger brothers. His parents lost count of the soccer games around Atlanta in those early years. The games wouldn’t wear him out. It was as if his legs would always be ready for the next sprint. He was scouted to play in college.
Despite his natural abilities, for Wesley, the end goal wasn’t sports. He said he always knew what he wanted to do. “I wanted to stick around college for the rest of my life and be a professor.”
Every bit of his resolve would be tested one night before his last final his freshman year.
He described it, “driver lost control in the North Georgia mountains and the car rolled down the hill and hit a tree.”
Wesley barely made it to Shepard Center. He was paralyzed from the neck down.
Life had suddenly taken a different direction.
At first, he didn’t believe the doctors when they told him he could no longer walk. He had limited use of his back, arms, and fingers. Wesley would have to learn the most basic tasks again.
He said, “I couldn’t feed myself or brush my teeth, let alone write or take notes in class.”
Wesley’s mom, Judy Biddy, felt like any mom would. She was trying to imagine what was in store for her oldest of four children. “To be honest, we didn’t know how he was even going to go on.”
“He was just 20 years old.”
Wesley said he had doubts about recovery saying, “there were a couple of moments along the way where I thought, ‘hmmm, I want to quit.’”
His will to keep working to his goal always drowned out the doubts whispering in his ear.
There were years of therapy. Much of his recovery happened at Atlanta’s Shepard Center. It was hard. It was painful. Wesley Biddy never for a moment backed down.
And, the woman who’d from day one told him he could do anything; made sure he still would.
Together, they went back to school.
“She went with me everywhere I went Leigh, Duke, and Marquette.” He said. He marvels at the sacrifices she made to leave his younger siblings and dad at home so she could support his dream.
“My entire family has given up so much for me to be able to complete my educational journey.” He said.
Mom went to every class. “I would take notes for him and learned a lot of stuff.” She jokes how patient he was to explain things along the way that were, “So far over my head!”
Over a lot of years, undergraduate school, two master’s degrees, divinity school and then a PhD.
Wesley laughs, “I don’t want to do the arithmetic on it, the final number might be a little scary.” More than 17 years to be exact.
Never quitting took courage.
“What does courage mean to me?” Wesley Biddy asked. “It comes from the word for heart and I think courage is about stirring up what is in your heart to make sure you do what would be true to your heart.”
It is precisely what he did.
His mom said, “I’m so proud of his ability, his desire, his determination to make his dreams come true.”
There is still work to do. He is looking for an opportunity to use his degree and be a college professor.
When he accomplishes that goal, Wesley Biddy will be able to teach so much more than what is found in a text book. He will teach about facing the unexpected and staring down what feels impossible. He will look in to the eyes of students and tell them he knows they can do it, because he has done it too.
His mom smiled with a tear in her eye. “He’s the most courageous person I’ve ever known.”
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