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Charlie PackardCharlie Packard ’08

PTA, Lakeview Hospital, Stillwater, Minn.

About five years ago, Charlie was a backseat passenger injured in a serious car accident. He received a traumatic brain injury. No one else was injured in the accident. It was the beginning of a more directed life for him.

Inspiration to come to St. Kate’s: While in the hospital, Charlie befriended the PTA who worked with him and he became his inspiration to go into physical therapy. “He did such a good job I thought, ‘Why don’t I try that?’ That’s when I found out guys could go to St. Kate’s.”

Best thing about St. Kate’s: “Professors don’t just lecture and say, ‘see you later.’ They want you to learn. If I ever had trouble, they’d sit down and explain things to me.”
Biggest challenge since the accident: “Learning to walk again was the hardest thing in my life. I could remember myself walking before the accident but the brain has to create new pathways or ‘brain plasticity.’ It took me a month to learn to walk. Now I walk as much as I can as well as ride my bike everywhere.  I look at my accident as the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me!”

Biggest surprise since the accident: “I love meeting new people.” He remembers how he used to fear meeting new people before the accident. Now Charlie eloquently describes the earth as a multi-sided object on which we each can only see our side, “but when you talk to someone you get to look at their side.” He says he considers everyone he meets a friend.

Most unusual job to pay for college: “I worked as a human mannequin. I still do.”