Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on June 12th, 2012

Today: Rog Severson, who after a severe spinal cord injury, helped thousands of other people suffering from spinal cord injuries.

Rog was a very successful 47 year old Orange County, CA real estate developer, with a wife and four children when at a social event; he was suddenly thrown by a mule he was riding.

In a heartbeat, Rog landed on his head and neck and was unable to move, as he tried to control his panic and fears. What had been a joyous event was now one in which the paramedics rushed to the scene, carefully strapped him to a gurney and got him to a hospital.

At the hospital, doctors and medical staff did all they could to help him, as machines around him flashed vital information and concerned people hustled about, as his family was in tears.

Rog, an athlete and a former college tennis player had become a prisoner in his own body, not knowing if he would be permanently paralyzed.

When his dire circumstances were finally diagnosed, Rog learned he was paralyzed from the mid-chest down and doctors told him he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

He was “devastated,” and for the next month, he lived in the hospital desperately dependent on the care of others. Even routine functions most of us take for granted such as getting out of bed, using the bathroom or taking a shower required extensive assistance.

But as depressing as his circumstances were, Rog refused to give-up. After being transferred to Casa Colina Center for Rehabilitation in Pomona, CA, he eventually wiggled one of his big toes, and became determined to regain his mobility, regardless of what the doctors thought.

At the Center, Rog shared a room with four other people who helped care for each other. While in therapy, Rog was paired with a young man with a similar spinal cord injury and they good naturedly challenged and encouraged each other.

With Rog’s positive attitude, determination and his extensive rehab, his new doctor told him there was a chance he might eventually regain full mobility and even walk again.

Six months later, Rog walked out of the Center, using only a cane for support. The other man was not so fortunate. When his insurance ran out, he was transferred to a facility the state paid for and he no longer made significant progress.

Rog’s heart ached for his therapy partner. Just a few months after leaving the Center, Rog started the Spinal Cord Injury Special Center, which he helped to fund.

And Rog became a fund raiser for an organization that over the years has provided money for spinal cord victims in need, to help them pay for therapy or special equipment. To date, it has assisted over 1,000 people.

Rog also became a Goodwill of Orange County board member and served as a fund raiser to help provide money to create its Assistive Technology Exchange Center. This Technology Center offers advanced equipment to help disabled people, including voice activated computers and a Goodwill Fitness Center so the disabled have a physically accommodating place to exercise.

For 25 years, a very grateful Rog put a big part of the energy and determination that made him a business success, into helping spinal cord victims.

But on March 12, 2012, from complications of cancer, Rog passed away at the age of 72 at his Newport Beach home. He is survived by Barbara, his wife of 42 years and by their four children and seven grandchildren.

But Rog is also survived by the many people he employed as a real estate developer and by the thousands of spinal cord victims and severely injured people and their families his fund raising and his big heart assisted.

For them, his helping hand had been a godsend.

Success Tip of the Week: It doesn’t take a severe injury as Rog suffered to help others in need. You just need a caring heart and the inspiration to know where you can best help.

Editor’s Notes: For the rest of his life, Rog walked with a cane, but he was able to do the things he wanted, whether in business, participating in family activities, driving his car, playing golf or as he did nearly each day, working out at the gym or going for a swim. Thank you to Nerissa Nuqui, his longtime assistant for her help in telling his story.

To learn more, please see “Rogers Severson dies at 72; creator of spinal cord injury fund,” Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/rogers-severson To learn more about the Spinal Cord Injury Special Fund, please see http://www.scispecialfund.org/

In the next KazanToday: A man who rose from poverty and homelessness to become a Hollywood star.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!
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