Bailey an overcomer of adversity

Marianne Gillespie
Hayden Bailey works on his upper body strength after having his legs amputated as a result of a vehicle accident last fall.

No matter the obstacle in Hayden Bailey’s way, the 22-year-old Sparland resident is determined to continue on with his life’s plans.

“I overcame a lot of things,” Bailey said. “Every single thing sorted itself out, except for my feet.”

The 2010 Midland High School graduate was involved in a single car accident the morning of Oct. 5, 2013, and was LifeFlighted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. His injuries were so severe that both of his legs were amputated through the knee. He needed dialysis as his kidneys were not working properly.

He spent 47 days at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, 18 of which he was in a medical-induced coma. He does not remember the accident or much surrounding those days in the hospital. Bailey turned 22 on Oct. 25 and was moved from intensive care to physical therapy.

Chillicotheans may know him as worked at Taco Bell and Geiger TrueValue Hardware store and has dated Chillicothean Abby Shane for four years. She put off work to spend time with him in his recuperation.

Coming home in a wheelchair, he had home therapy on his “stubbies,” which fit on his upper legs to enable him to walk. He worked enough at home with them that he did not need physical therapy to assist him in moving around with them.

Now seven months after his accident, Bailey is off all his medication and does not need physical therapy.

His recovery may be a testament to his positive nature – his sister, Amy Davis, has photographed his recovery. He can be seen plowing snow, walking down the hallways of doctor’s offices and more.

“It was kind of more or less how I am,” Bailey said as to his positive nature.

“If you can’t do anything about it, or it’s out of your hands, then why worry about it?” he asked.

For his situation, his outlook is: “It all just adds up to no legs, no problem, that’s what I say,” Bailey said.

He said he recently went for a swim and mowed grass. He also works out at Pearce Community Center every morning with his buddy, Darren “Gill” Colwell Jr.

“I haven’t found anything that I cannot do,” Bailey said.

That carries over to his plans for his future. His truck is outfitted with hand controls, allowing him to be back at school this semester as he continues through a Steamfitter apprenticeship. He is learning to service industrial heating, ventilation and air conditioning. He missed a semester due to the accident, but he plans to double up on coursework and finish with his class in two years.

Also on the horizon is the benefit Saturday at Three Sisters Park, which will assist with medical bills incurred already and the high cost of the Ottobock X3 prosthetic legs. The legs contain a microprocessor that measures the person’s movements and are waterproof, Bailey said.

2-11 p.m. Saturday

Three Sisters Park

Includes bags tournament, live auction, silent auction, food, bands and more

Hayden "Strong" benefit