STEWARTVILLE, Minn. -The message is simple: never give up.
At no cost to families, the Chris Norton Foundation is hosting a wheelchair camp at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch for kids who use wheelchairs and their families.
Chris Norton suffered a severe spinal cord injury at age 18 while playing football for Luther College in Decorah. He was transported to the Mayo Clinic and was told he had a 3% chance of ever regaining movement and feeling below his neck.
Since then, Norton has continued to defy the odds. Videos of him walking went viral. First, with his then-fiancé Emily to receive his Luther College diploma, and again with Emily at their wedding ceremony.
25 kids and their families are attending the camp this week, doing a variety of activities including laser tag, softball, and a ropes course. Norton hopes to make the camp an annual event, and even expand to hosting multiple camps all over the country one day.
"I want to show them that life can be great, life can be amazing. It doesn't matter if I'm able to walk or grab something with my hand. It's not about that," says Norton. "I hope that gives them the courage and the strength to take on new challenges and put themselves outside of their comfort zones."
Chris and Emily are releasing their new book The Seven Longest Yards, with a foreword by Tim Tebow, on July 9th. The book is about their love story and walks readers through Chris's physical challenges and Emily's struggles with anxiety and depression.
Chris and Emily will be returning to Decorah, where Chris's journey began, for a book signing.
On July 1st at Carrie Lee Auditorium at 7 PM, people can meet the Nortons and get an autographed copy of the book before its official release. The event is hosted by Dragonfly Books. You can click here to reserve free tickets.