EAGLE RIVER - Three months ago, a water skiing accident nearly left Merrill firefighter Chris Marion paralyzed. The St. Germain native has shocked everyone around him with an amazing recovery that's far from over. Tuesday night, Marion stood side-by-side with the Northland Pines Eagles, as they honored him before their game against Lakeland.
"It's absolutely amazing, I can't even explain how it feels," said Marion.
For Marion, standing on the ice at the Eagle River Ice Arena took a lot more effort than he ever imagined it could.
"I do recall [lying] face down in the water, unable to move," said Marion.
On September 3, Chris Marion's life changed forever. A water skiing accident separated his skull from his spine.
"Most injuries like that, people never get a chance to leave the scene," said Marion.
But through the help of first responders and doctors, the 45-year-old not only left the scene, but walked out of the hospital just six weeks later. Through it all, Marion's outlook on life hasn't changed.
"I always feel that a positive attitude and laughter is some of the best medicine," said Marion.
Now he must focus on continuing his rehab.
"I'm just working to get back to, some people say 100%," said Marion. "But I'm shooting for 110."
On Tuesday night the Northland Pines boys hockey team wanted to help him do that.
"When [the players] heard about it, they started getting the wrist bands and everything together and they had kind of been talking about it in the locker room," said Northland Pines Head Coach Dave Cox. "And they said 'jeez coach is there something we can do about that?'"
The Eagles booster club teamed up with Marion's long-time friend Jenny Sergent to collect donations, sell wrist bands and promote their benefit concert later this month. Sergent says she never hesitated once the team reached out.
"When I got in touch with a few people and they said should we do this? I said game on, rock and roll," said Sergent.
But Tuesday's benefit for Marion wasn't just to collect donations. It also allowed him to step onto the ice and stand side by side with the Eagles, just as he did when he played for Northland Pines himself.
"He wants to show everyone that you can do it, and you can move forward and you shouldn't just sit in the shadows and feel sorry for yourself," said Sergent.
Marion says feeling sorry for himself is the last thing you'll catch him doing.
"Not that I even can hang my head. It's pretty much screwed into place where it's at, but keep my head up, keep smiling, work hard and I'll be back to normal before everyone knows," said Marion.
Marion has another surgery scheduled for about two weeks from now. For more information on the benefit concert, click on the link below.
Chris Marion Benefit Concert