One year ago, Eugene Yoon created a GoFundMe campaign called I Will Walk. The campaign was established to help his friend, Arthur Renowitzky, receive the medical assistance he needed to be able to walk again after a debilitating spinal cord injury. But when Eugene first heard Arthur’s story, he had never met the man before in his life. Now read how one extraordinary, random act of kindness led to a friendship, and what some may call a miracle.
As CBS News’ Steve Hartman shares, Eugene was a regular guy with a film degree working for a research company in Northern California. Eugene says he was happy and comfortable, so he was a little shaken and disconcerted when he began to feel what he describes as a calling from God to do an act of kindness for a stranger – something he later learned would require radical self-sacrifice and would propel Eugene from his comfort zone.
He hemmed and hawed over his newfound conviction until one day, when Arthur Renowitzky came across his Facebook newsfeed. Arthur had endured a traumatic gunshot wound during an armed robbery (the thief stole his wallet, which contained only $20). The bullet injured Renowitzky’s spine, and rendered him unable to walk. In fact, doctors said Renowitzky would never walk again. But Arthur was determined that he would, and he surmounted physical and emotional hurdles as he plowed towards his goal.
When Eugene heard Arthur’s story, he felt he had found the person he was supposed to help. The two became friends in late 2014, and Eugene learned about a device – a ReWalk robotic Exoskeleton, which was helping people like Arthur regain lost mobility. But the invention was cost-prohibitive, carrying a hefty price tag of $80,000 including the therapy needed to operate the device. Eugene decided he would raise the funds by doing the one thing Arthur couldn’t: walking.
Eugene quit his job and hit the Pacific Crest Trail. He was determined to walk the trail from the California-Mexico border all the way to the Canadian border – a daunting task that would take months. Meanwhile, he would raise awareness – and donations – as he chronicled his journey north. When he was midway through Washington State, Eugene learned that the funding goal had been reached, and he knew that his friend’s dream of walking again was within reach. Eugene’s random act of kindness was not so random anymore.
Watch Steve Hartman’s touching tribute to the pair below:
Eugene’s story resonates with the Pro-Life movement. We, too, are well-acquainted with the notion of helping someone we’ve never met to achieve a life that may seem impossible. When we pray, minister, fundraise, and educate our peers on Pro-Life issues, we can easily feel as if we’re casting a net into the darkness with no guarantee that our efforts will bear fruit. Maybe we will never meet a mother we have unknowingly encouraged or a child we helped to save. But, like Eugene, we believe that the radical act of dedicating our time and energy to acts of life-affirming service is bound to yield abundantly.