KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man paralyzed after being shot in the neck is getting help from someone who knows exactly what he’s going through.
Steven Keener will be the first one to tell you he has made some bad decisions in life, but he said he went out to Washington to a recovery house to get his life in order.
But Keener said last month in Fife, Washington, a fight with a man he’d just met led to the man shooting through the windshield of his truck into his neck.
“I was sure that I was going to die,” Keener said, next to his mom, Salena Garten.
The two are in the University of Washington Spinal Cord treatment Program.
Keener survived the shooting, but the bullet severed his spinal cord.
He’s paralyzed from the chest down.
“I was shot at age 12,” said Nathan Powell. “I have an incomplete C3-C4 spinal cord injury.”
Powell, also of Kansas City, knows Keener’s prognosis all too well.
“The doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to breath on my own, I wouldn’t be able to move any of my limbs, and I’m a fighter,” Powell said. “I could see that in Steven, as well.”
The two men are connected not just by their hometown and traumatic injuries. Keener’s girlfriend once helped Powell at his assisted living complex.
“I want to pay it forward because I’ve been through this situation, and I want to help them through this situation, and they need all the help that they can get,” Powell said.
He’s been contacting donors and is even giving his artwork for auction.
He said home modifications like ramps are often paid for out of pocket and cost families tens of thousands of dollars.
“Nathan is an incredible young man,” Garten said. “And to understand exactly what we’re going through. And in my darkest moments that young man has given me the words that I needed to hear.”
Keener wants to use his second chance like Powell has, speaking to others with disabilities and intervening with at-risk youth.
“Kansas City, that’s what we do, we help each other, and Powell represents that,” Keener said.
Keener has elected not to press charges against the man who shot him.