David S. Kritser, III.   Who is David Kritser?  David is a past Chairman of both the Second Chance and BSA Foundation Boards, community volunteer, husband and father of two.  If you've ever been a patient at BSA Health System, chances are you passed David in the hallway.  When he's not promoting the Second Chance Foundation and running between rehab appointments and various committee meetings, he's encouraging rehab patients.

David has always been a very optimistic, easy going person believing he could do anything.  This attitude, however, proved to be a double edged sword.  It was this invincible attitude that was behind the accident.  At the age of 22, David was water skiing and partying with friends while enjoying time off from active duty at Ft. Hood.  After releasing the rope, the rutter of the ski was caught on a sand bar, trapping his feet in the foot straps causing him to hit his head, flip and land on his back.  A friend and pre-med student attempted to stabilize his neck as much as possible while being transported to a waiting ambulance.  David's injuries resulted in a broken neck causing him to be paralyzed from the shoulders down.  Knowing he would be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life, David wasn't apprehensive about what the future held for him.  In fact, his easy going lifestyle continued pretty much the same as before his accident.

David's optimism and positive outlook on life is what helped him per when diagnosed  with testicular cancer eighteen months later.  He was given less than a 5% chance of surviving.  After four operations and trying chemotherapy with no results, he decided to try an experimental drug.  The doctor's prognosis was, if the cancer didn't kill him, the drug would.  David's life threatening disease was more discouraging than when his neck was broken.  At this stage, the burden was heavy and he contemplated suicide.  March, 1972, David made the decision that changed the rest of his life.  He requested to have surgery to remove the tumor that had settled in his lungs.  To date, the cancer has not returned.  Having survived the cancer, David knew he had survived for a reason and that God had a purpose for his life.

Slowly, thirteen years later, without warning, David settled into a deep, deep depression.  There was no apparent reason for him to be depressed.  Life was good, but he had become discontented.  He felt he was drifting along in life with no meaning.  He was hungry for something more.  He never ventured outside the house.  Food was his constant companion resulting in weight gain up to 300 pounds and self-pity had become his best friend.  One morning he woke up and said enough!  He wanted more from life.  David believed the emptiness he experienced was used by the Holy Spirit to draw him closer to God and to reveal the real meaning in life.  With the prayers and support of Tom Thatcher, a close friend, and others, David realized his calling to help others.

This sense of purpose is what drives David.  "The fear of falling back into my old lifestyle keeps me motivated.  I can't wait to get up in the morning to face whatever new challenged lie ahead," David commented.  "It is a continuous process to keep a positive outlook and to stay motivated."  Secret weapons in his arsenal include his faith in God, his wife, Sally, and a caring mother, Mrs. J. Lee Johnson, III.  "Sally is my soul mate and has been with me through the good and the bad.  She's a wonderful mother and wife.  I don't think I would have made it this far without her support," stated David affectionately.  David met Sally while going through rehab after his accident.

Having firsthand knowledge of the emotional, mental, spiritual and financial challenges one experiences when they become mobility impaired, David wanted to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.  He knew he would visit with new patients in Bivins Rehab, be a friend and a source of encouragement to those who needed it, but he wanted to do more.

David was invited by Dr. Ed Thomas to get involved with the Second Chance Foundation.  The Foundation began as a dream of Dr. Thomas and with the help of Betty Bivins, David Kritser, and many others, it became a reality.  Providing assistance, based on financial need, to mobility impaired individuals who have exhausted other means of support is the Foundation's purpose.  Specifically, the Foundation will assist clients with prosthetic equipment, extended outpatient therapy, continuing education, and transportation.  The Foundation is funded by donations from individuals.

Attitude is everything!  "You cannot control anything else in life, but you can control your attitude," stated David.  "I have enough power that I can control what kind of attitude I will have for that day.  A positive attitude goes a long way, even if you force it sometimes.  I am no good to anyone if I don't have a good attitude."  David is an example of what we can do if we aren't limited by our attitude!  What is your attitude in life?

Diann.Brown@bsahs.org