KEYSTONE, Fla — The small community of Keystone came together to help bring a local teen home for the holidays.
Anthony Reynolds is your typical teenager. He enjoys playing video games, had hopes of joining the football team for his senior year, and had plans to start weightlifting. Above all, the 17-year-old loves riding his four-wheeler.
“It lets you feel free almost,” Reynolds said. “You ride all by yourself. It’s quiet. No one is distracting you.”
It’s a freeing feeling that nearly killed him this past August while he was out riding with his friends.
“I felt the impact. But I didn’t really feel any pain. So, I got up, looked around and was going to sit up. But I couldn’t.”
Reynolds came up fast on a car ahead and his brakes weren’t working. He crashed into a fence and slammed into a post on the side of the road.
“As soon as I sat up, I heard cracks and pops straight down my back. I was just scared,” Reynolds said.
The teen spent two weeks at UF Health Shands Hospital after he was paralyzed from the chest down. Everything he had taken for granted was taken away in a flash. But Reynold persevered for months and learned his way around on a wheelchair. The only problem is the house he’s living in isn’t home. He’s staying with a family friend whose home is wheelchair accessible.
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“My family is also worried about me, and I miss them as well. Being away from them for so long because they can only visit. That’s a struggle too,” he said.
In the spirit of Christmas, the Keystone community stepped up to rally around one of its own. A benefit raised nearly $4,000 and the funds keep pouring in on Go Fund Me which now has more than $5,000 of the $50,000 goal to make Reynold’s home wheelchair accessible.
“I didn’t think people would actually support me like that, but I guess even the small town of Keystone will do that,” he told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant.
While Anthony didn’t make it back home for Christmas, the small town of Keystone hasn’t given up. Neighbors continue to donate and gave the 17-year-old something even greater: a sense of community. It’s a gift that can’t be wrapped.
“Do not take anything for granted. Just persevere through. You have to keep smiling. Trust in God as well,” he said.
The Reynolds family continues to take donations and you can contribute to the cause on Go Fund Me.