Everything seemed to be going great, Craig Towler was on his way to the best date of his life when he was hit by a car. He felt that his life would end as he was caught between two cars. However, the fatal accident led to something that no one could have foreseen.
Meet Craig Towler
Craig Towler was a die-hard fitness devotee. He was 28, and he lived the life of many twenty-somethings who had settled in Boulder, Colorado. He liked athletics and running in his leisure time, and he often competed in 10k races.
Towler had lived in Boulder for much of his life and had even grown up in South Boulder. In an interview, Towler stated, “This is my town. I used to run, hike, and do anything outside.” But, in a terrible turn of events, all of that was about to change.
The Day That Changed His Life
Towler recalls the Fourth of July of 2016 as if it were yesterday. Towler had been looking forward to this day for several weeks. “I was enjoying such a wonderful day until the tragedy,” Towler remembered.
Towler walked from his house to the Boulder Reservoir. His employer, BBSC Endurance Sports, was conducting its annual event traditionally held on July 4th. Everything went off without a hitch that morning. His life would be permanently altered by the end of the day.
A Fourth of July to Remember
Towler was well aware that this July 4th would be unlike any other. “This year was especially thrilling because it was my first race as a timer,” Towler explained in an interview. But the happiness of that moment was going to fade.
Towler returned home once the race was over and everyone had packed their belongings. His plan for that day was to stop at his house, reload the car, and go to a friend’s house to watch the fireworks. But he’d never be able to attend the party.
Tragic Events Occur
Towler made plans to accompany the lady he had seen at the fireworks show, in addition to hanging out with his pals. He couldn’t wait to show off his new love interest, and even though it was just their third date, he was curious to see how she would do among his friends.
Towler was at home, unpacking his racing gear from his vehicle when his life was changed forever in an instant by an automobile accident. “I was standing behind my SUV’s tailgate when I felt an impact that forced me against the rear of my car,” he wrote.
Life Is Endangered
Towler’s body went into shock instantly. He couldn’t feel anything after the force of the vehicle collision. “I glanced down and saw both of my legs disconnected before I understood what had occurred,” he wrote. “I was in a state of shock at the moment, but I recall everything vividly.”
The fitness enthusiast was now fighting for his life. “I instantly understood that my life was in jeopardy and that quick action was required to survive. I didn’t know what had happened at the moment, but I knew something significant had occurred.”
Craig is being rushed to safety
Everyone who had seen the crash rushed to aid. And, to their astonishment, the man who had been hit was utterly aware, able to give directions, and appear to think correctly. Towler told, “I advised them on how to wrap tourniquets around my legs using belts or anything they had to stem the bleeding.”
Towler could see how rapidly he was losing blood while lying on the street. Towler instructed everyone around him to remove their belts to stop the bleeding. Whatever assistance he received would have to arrive swiftly, or he would perish.
An Attempt at Rescue
Police hurried to the site, but it immediately became clear that they would need considerably more assistance to keep Towler alive. As a result, Towler was flown in a helicopter to the nearest hospital, Denver Health Medical Center’s trauma center.
Towler was awake and lucid the entire way there, watching paramedics try to keep him alive. Then everything went dark. Towler noted, “I was cognizant the entire time and recalled everything until I was drugged for the surgery.”
Craig’s life is being saved
Doctors operated on Towler’s legs for hours while he was anesthetized. “I later discovered from the physicians that the tourniquets had stayed on my legs until I entered surgery hours later and that they are the reason I am alive today,” Towler wrote.
Doctors were able to save Towler’s life thanks to the procedure. But they were also aware that Towler’s life was about to change dramatically. And they were going to deliver some devastating news to their heroic patient.
“It was between life or limb”
Doctors informed Towler once he was awake. He would bleed to death if he did not agree to amputate his legs. “It was a matter of life and death,” Craig told. “I recall asking the doctor, ‘You know what, just do what needs to be done.'”
The doctors saw what needed to be done and prepped Towler for surgery to amputate his legs. The left leg would have to be cut just below the knee, while his right leg would be severed somewhat above the knee. Even in this tight situation, Towler had a request that no one expected.
A Small Favor
Towler was ready to begin the first of five procedures required to amputate his legs completely. The entire procedure was scheduled to take a week. But before that could happen, he had one more thing to accomplish.
Towler turned from his hospital bed to face a buddy who had hurried to his side. Towler had a buddy go through his possessions for his phone. He then requested that his pal go into his phone contacts and SMS a woman called Amanda.
At this point, what could Towler potentially have to text an unknown lady about? With so many other life-changing events going on, messaging this mysterious woman could have been the last thing on his mind. But it was significant for Towler.
Towler had a date with a new lady – Amanda Schiewe – that night, and he was apprehensive about what would happen if she hadn’t heard from him. They’d only been dating for three weeks, but he could tell something was off about her. He just didn’t realize how different she’d be.
Amanda’s first meeting
Schiewe had caught Towler’s eye months ago, but the two had yet to talk. He’d seen her at his neighborhood gym, where Schiewe was a fitness trainer. “It took me a long time to gain the courage to talk to her,” Towler told.
“I scheduled my exercises around the time she was working,” he explained. “I kept saying ‘hello’ and ‘bye,’ and eventually I walked up to her.For me, it was a gradual process.” But, just as their love story was getting underway, Towler was confined to a hospital bed, fearful that it, and potentially his life, were about to come to an end.
Receiving The Call
Schiewe was at home, getting ready for her date that night. She was expecting a night of fireworks, hot dogs, making new acquaintances, and flirting. But, while she sat by her phone, the man she had recently started seeing hadn’t yet contacted her.
“I was starting to get anxious,” Schiewe said on Instagram. “Craig is NOT the type of guy to simply abandon a lady… and we were so pleased to spend the evening together.” Something was wrong. I never anticipated hearing the news that I did.”
A Surprising Phone Call
Schiewe’s phone abruptly rang. It was Towler’s phone number, but it wasn’t Towler’s voice. “Cedric [Towler’s best buddy] informed me Craig was hit by a car and would live, but his legs would be removed soon,” Schiewe wrote. “He also informed me Craig apologized profusely for having to cancel our date!”
Schiewe was surprised that Towler had made a point of calling her at this time. “The mere fact that he was thinking of me made me fall even deeper for him,” Schiewe wrote. She understood precisely what she had to do at that point.
The Road Back to Health
Schiewe hurried to the hospital to be at Towler’s side, even though they had only known each other for three weeks. And she didn’t go. Schiewe stayed in the hospital for weeks with Towler, including his 29th birthday, when he had 87 staples removed from his legs.
“I honestly had no idea what to anticipate, but she was there right away, no questions asked, and I knew she was the one for me,” Towler. She was there for him when he underwent nine leg surgery over many weeks. But that would only be the beginning.
Attempting to Gain Acceptance
Towler discovered in the weeks following the vehicle accident that the man who had almost killed him that day had been driving while intoxicated. And the guy’s choice to get off the wheel changed Towler’s life forever. And accepting that fate was difficult at first.
But then Towler changed his mind. “When I was in the ICU, I made a very deliberate decision,” Towler explained. “I was chatting to my mom, and I told her that I needed to accept what had occurred and that it was genuine.” “I couldn’t move on until I had that acceptance.” And he did go forward.
A Novel Approach to Dating
Spending nights in the hospital is not how most relationships begin. But this was Schiewe and Towler’s new world, and they were making the best of it. “Amanda was with me on most of the days,” Towler added.
Schiewe was present for every operation, every ICU visit, every time he was fitted for his new legs, tested out his most unique wheelchair, and throughout his rehabilitation. She was even present when he was released from the hospital to begin his new life.
A Completely New House
It is usually challenging to begin a relationship. But it was even more difficult for Schiewe and Towler. Towler has hit rock bottom several times in his life. Schiewe, on the other hand, was unafraid. “I immediately discovered how unselfish and caring she is, especially considering the situation I was in,” Towler added.
When Towler was eventually released from the hospital, he returned to everyday life, knowing that things would never be the same again. He anticipated that things would significantly alter for him. But he had no idea what was going to happen, and no one else had either.
A Supportive Shoulder
Schiewe and Towler had become inseparably close during their time at the hospital. So, eight months after he was discharged from the hospital, the two elevated their connection to a new level. They informed their relatives and friends that they were cohabiting.
“Amanda was a huge part of it all,” Towler added. “Having a spouse there at such a difficult moment, with so many emotions going on, was invaluable.” They worked together to create a new life. But there was one crucial item that Towler was lacking.
Return to the Track
Towler’s entire life had revolved around athletics. Even though he had lost both of his legs, Towler had no intention of changing his goal. Towler returned to work in September 2016, exactly three months after his vehicle accident and one month after being released from the hospital.
Towler has always wanted to compete in the BOLDERBoulder race before his tragedy. On Memorial Day, he participated in a wheelchair ten months after surgeons took both of his legs. That, however, was insufficient. But there were always going to be things that would be eternally different.
A Brand-New Normal
Towler has competed in a few races, taken up kayaking, returned to the gym, relearned how to ski, and begun to hand-cycle and rope climb after losing both of his legs. However, such achievements have been accompanied by some heartbreaking realities.
“It would be false to argue that this experience has not altered me,” Towler added. “The truth is that, no matter how optimistic my perspective or how driven I am to achieve, this event has affected me for the rest of my life.” But that didn’t stop him from trying to alter the hearts of others.
How to Become an Advocate
Being a part of the amputee group opened Towler’s eyes to what he called a “marginalized” and “ignored” population. Resources that might have assisted him in navigating the procedure were simply unavailable. On the other hand, Towler was determined to alter that for others in his new community.
He decided to launch Amputee Concierge, an online platform that gives valuable information, tools, and assistance to persons with lost limbs and their family members dealing with the process. And, once again, he had someone at his side throughout the procedure.
Amanda’s Prospective Future
When Towler was in the vehicle accident, he was convinced that his love with Schiewe was also doomed. She, on the other hand, remained loyal over the years. And, five years after Towler’s July 4th accident, the two celebrated his “Alive Day” as a couple.
According to Schiewe’s social media, Towler also saved her. “I don’t know where I’d be right now if this man hadn’t survived this horrific catastrophe,” she posted on Instagram. “He’s one of my most important professors and means the world to me… Craig, thank you for surviving.”
Changed physically, but not mentally
Towler’s relationship had stayed solid over the previous five years, but everything else had changed since the accident. “This event may have affected my physical appearance, but my essential principles and life ambitions have not,” Towler explained.
“I consider myself fortunate to be alive today,” Towler said. “So every second I’m here is a blessing, and I’ll utilize my life experiences to spread happiness and, perhaps, inspire people to respect the time we have.” Towler offers one piece of advice for everybody who has been motivated by his experience.
Making the Decision to Live
Towler claims that the day he lost his legs was when he lost control of his life. “This may appear overwhelming and frightening at first, but once you completely let go of attempting to manage [the external things], it becomes liberating,” he wrote.
Towler could have died on July 4th, 2016. And he may have perished in the days that followed. He claims, however, that he has opted to live with his new lover at his side. “Even though my road was different and much more difficult, I was still alive, and I resolved to live.”