Grateful former patient donates $26K to Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital

MIAMI (WSVN) - A patient is giving back to a South Florida hospital that took care of him when his life took a sudden turn.

James “Woody” Beckham and his family gave Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital a generous gift, Monday afternoon.

An accident left him paralyzed, but Beckham said his medical staff kept his spirits strong. He said the hospital helped him through one of the toughest times in his life.

Nearly seven years ago, Beckham was an FAU rugby player who suffered a traumatic injury after being tackled in a game, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

For two months, Beckham underwent intense therapy at Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital and continued outpatient therapy for a year.

He said the staff helped him keep a positive outlook through the difficult time.

“It is hard to have hope and see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Beckham, “but if you have the right mindset and keep working hard, usually you can make things happen, and, you know, regain life.”

Looking for a way to give back, Beckham’s family and friends created The Woody Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to raising money to improve the lives of people living with paralysis.

The foundation hosted its 7th Annual Lionfish Bash fishing tournament back in June, raising $26,000. Beckham returned to the hospital on Monday, handing over a check for that amount.

“The first thought to my mind was donating to Jackson here,” said Beckham. “I felt the staff was great, but some of the equipment could probably use an upgrade, so we started The Woody Foundation.”

The check will go towards buying new therapeutic equipment and help fund the hospital’s recreation therapy program.

“Coming out here and seeing people using the equipment and hearing the stories about them progressing and regaining some functioning after having a spinal cord injury or whatnot — it’s really touching,” said Beckham.

Beckham, who grew up in Miami, said he hopes the donation will allow other spinal cord injury patients to continue to enjoy their lives.

“That’s what it’s all about — helping others help themselves and empower them to regain their lives after having paralysis,” said Beckham.

Over the last seven years, The Woody Foundation has donated more than $150,000 to Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital.

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