Paralyzed Lake Charles resident makes top 10 in national competition

Paralyzed Lake Charles resident becomes finalist in national competition

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In January of 2003, Jennifer Brocato got the phone call that changed her life.  Her husband Frank- known by family and friends as J- was hurt playing basketball.

"Before he left I told him, I said you're getting too old to play this game," said Mrs. Brocato.  "I said don't call me and tell me you got hurt.   Well his best friend called me and told me he was hurt" she said.

"I was shooting a lay up and got hit by another guy" said J.  "I went into the wall head first and shattered my neck and of course that's been almost 9.5 years ago now" he said.

Doctor's told J that he would never walk again and only had a 30% chance of living.  He defeated those odds and has his family to thank.

"I guess I'm blessed to be alive" J said.  "I know if it wouldn't be for my family being able to continue to push on with me I'd probably wouldn't have made it".

Growing up with an immobile dad wasn't easy and J's eldest daughter remembers having to pull extra weight to keep things in order.

"I know for instance I had to pick up on driving around town, running errands, picking up my sister or bringing my dad places" said J's daughter, Jordin.

And she says he's worth it.

"There's no other way to put it" she said.  "He's the most selfless person I know in my entire life and I cherish him for that".

Now they're ready for the world to know.  They're the reason why J has placed in the top 10 of a national competition sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeves foundation.

"I did not know about it until I was contacted by the foundation making sure that it was okay with me to proceed as a finalist" said J, reliving his shock when finding out.

"I sent in the essay for him to be nominated not knowing what would turn of it" said Jennifer.  "They contacted me and said he was one of the top 10 finalist".

Voting lasts through 11:59p on Sunday, June 17th.  The link to vote and the essay that has gotten the Brocato's this far is below:

I nominate Frank Brocato Jr (goes by "J") as the Best Dad on Wheels, not only because he's the father of our 2 girls & my husband, but he's a true inspiration to many. From the 1st week he was injured playing basketball with a C6 injury & only a 30% chance to live, he vowed to fight & said he had a choice to make the best of his new life to live LONG so he could be there for his girls as they grow up with him by their sides. He has a Nothing Can stop me attitude & encourage them to Never Give up on anything. He's a true poster dad for Quads. The 1st thing he desires to do if ever able to walk again is to walk hand & hand down the street with his girls by his side! He has taught our girls to do things for him that he used to do before. His first outing after driving was taking our 12 yr old fishing. They also attend many sporting events together.

Love & Courage is what makes Frank Brocato Jr the BEST DAD ON WHEELS!

To vote [CLICK HERE]

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