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Shane Reilly's recovery nothing short of divine intervention

By Annie Bishop, KXLY4 Reporter , annieb@kxly.com
Published On: Feb 14 2013 09:25:55 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 14 2013 09:33:33 PM CST
Shane Reilly
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A Spokane man shot and left for dead is now defying all odds, making a recovery some say is nothing short of divine intervention.

KXLY first met Shane Reilly in 2011, six months after he was shot by a man who thought he was a sex offender. Reilly is not, and was the focus of an Extreme Team segment in August of 2011.

Reilly is an incredible man; his determination and sheer will to get better and live a normal life nothing short of remarkable. Next month will mark two years since he was shot and no one -- not even doctors or his parents -- could imagine he'd be where he is today.

"It's, it's just a miracle, it's amazing," Shane's dad, Rick Reilly said.

When Shane Reilly needed to write an essay for English 97 he knew right away what he had to say.

"The most difficult choice I think I ever had to make was should I give up on my life or should I fight to become normal," Shane said, reading from his essay.

It was a decision Shane made in the blink of an eye.

"I was talking to him, saying he had to fight, this was it, you've got 24 hours, you have to fight and I opened my eyes and he was looking at me," Rick recalled.

On March 5, 2011, Shane was shot in the head by Robert Startin. The bullet pierced his ear, shattering his C1 and C2 vertebrae.

"99-percent of the time with a C1 injury you die," Rick said.

Doctors told Shane's dad to prepare to take him off life support.

"I just said 'No, not for 24 hours, what's another 24 hours?'" Rick said.

It turns out it was everything. Six hours later Shane opened his eyes. He spent seven months in the hospital and rehab, learning how to do everything all over again; how to breathe, how to eat, the most basic of movements.

When he was ready to go home, the KXLY Extreme Team was waiting for him. The team remodeled his room to help with his recovery.

"Well they did two years worth of work on four days, there were fifty people here, I mean," Rick said.

"The last time you guys seen me it took two people to transfer from my wheelchair to bed," Shane said.

Fast forward to a year later and Shane is now stronger and more determined than ever.

"There's no medical reason why I can move, for my injury being up so high, there's not a whole lot of documented cases, it, it just doesn't happen," he said.

Shane can now walk from the living room to his bedroom. He's up to 150 feet.

"Every time I go to a doctor's office they all come out to see me, see how I'm doing, even doctors I haven't seen, they just want to stare and see and shake my hand and see how I'm doing," he said.

It's clear hundreds of hours of therapy are paying off, but, the heart of his recovery is much greater than his 6'5" frame.

"The will to live is amazing," Rick said.

"I don't want to be in a wheelchair forever so that makes me want to keep going," Shane added.

Shane isn't shy about sharing his story, "because it might help somebody else, not to give up when things get tough."

That message is making a big impact, especially on the Spokane Community College campus where Shane is now going back to school.

"I will someday be able to live my life the way I want," Shane said, reading from his English essay. "I will have to go through countless hours of therapy. This is my choice, it will be worth every second of hard work sweat and pain and that's it."

Shane hopes to be out of his wheelchair by the time he's 30, which gives him about a year. And when he's out of that chair and walking, KXLY will be there too.

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