Paralyzed man gets life-changing gift to stand again

Henry Mullen, III and Patrick Peterson share first handshake in standing wheelchairs (Photo: Asha Staples, Reporter, WALA)

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) – Henry Mullen, III of Fairhope isn’t sitting anymore and has a new outlook on life.

“I feel great. Yeah, I can hold my head high,” Mullen said.

Today is the first time Mullen has been able to stand on his own in four years since he was left paralyzed in an accident back in 2014. It was all made possible by the therapy department at Thomas Hospital and the Alabama Department of Rehab Services.

“I feel great being able to stand up and let my blood flow like it should,” Mullen said.

“It’s a whole different world again,” Raymond Maczic, vice president of The Standing Company, said.

Maczic’s company based in Saginaw, Michigan came to Fairhope to deliver Mullen’s standing wheelchair. He says it’s exciting to see the beginning of a new and easier life for Mullen.

“When Henry stands he puts weight on his bones, his bladder works better, his bowels work better, he breathes better, he gets the best pressure relief that he could possibly get,” Maczic said.

After Mullen’s accident, he went through a lot physically, mentally and emotionally. Feelings his best friend Patrick Peterson knows, too. He’s been in a wheelchair since a motorcycle accident in 2001, but was the first person in Baldwin County to get a standing wheelchair in 2007.

“It’s changed my self-esteem, gives me inspiration to just stand up and be a part of the crowd now. I love it!” Peterson said.

With the same smile on his face and hope in his eyes, Mullen now feels the same way.

“It makes me feel good knowing that I helped out my best friend. We’ve got more opportunities now and so now when we go places, they’re going to say, ‘hey who’re those two guys in those wheelchairs standing up?'” Peterson said in laughter.

“I’ve kind of adopted him now. Boom, we can stand up and shake hands. Man, this is the first time we’ve stood up and shook hands!” Peterson said with a bright smile to Mullen.

“It feels good. It feels real good!” Mullen said to Peterson as the two shook hands.

Mullen says he’s not sure what his next step in life will be, but whatever it is, he has a lot of cheerleaders behind him.