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In this 2009 photo provided by the Dixon family, father and son share a lighter moment during Bobby’s recovery at UMass Medical Center. (Courtesy Photo))

Father and son discover what matters after accident

WINDHAM – It’s been three years since Bobby Dixon awoke from his coma, but his father, Robert, a former manufacturing executive, remembers it as if it were yesterday.

In his own words, the Windham father said the experience marked the end of “the five most critical weeks in his life,” where both men learned the power of hope and human kindness in the face of the unthinkable.

The struggles endured by a devoted father and his injured son, whose life was forever changed after being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, are detailed in the elder Dixon’s new book, “Look Forward: A Father and Son’s Journey to Healing.”

Proceeds from the book, which was released Nov. 15, will assist with Bobby’s daily needs as he continues to adjust to life without the use of his limbs.

“My hope is that every reader will come away from this book with realization that the world is full of caring people and that what we have in common is more powerful than our differences,” Dixon said during a recent book signing at the Chatterbox Cafe in Windham.

Bobby, now 37, was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle in early November 2009. He was severely injured in the accident, which left his spinal cord with major damage, including seven broken vertebrae.

Though doctors didn’t expect him to survive his injuries, Bobby overcame the odds when he woke from a four-week coma, though he learned he’d never walk again.

His father, who was working in Shanghai at the time of the accident, promptly rushed home to attend to his son.

Dixon took a hiatus from the business world as he devoted himself full time to Bobby’s well being, and has since developed an organization called MC4 that helps returning military veterans find civilian careers.

The family recalls many long nights in the ICU at UMass Medical Center, with the elder Dixon penning the occasional blog post to help clear his thoughts.

“When you’re in a hospital at night, you notice some interesting things,” said Dixon.

As Bobby began adjusting to the new life fate gave him, his father kept up with his writing. It wasn’t long before more than one person suggested the pair publish a book.

But they don’t want people to feel sorry for them.

“We really want to inspire people,” said Dixon. “Because the word ‘normal’ means different things for different people. After something like this happens, the word takes on a new meaning.”

For Bobby, who was working in construction at the time of his accident, his life has changed a lot since that November day three years ago.

Some changes, he said, have been for the better.

“I think it takes a really long time to understand your situation, but I never gave up,” said Bobby. “It was never about not being able to do things: it was more about finding a new way.”

One major challenge he’s dealt with was learning to drive again. Though many advised him that it might be easier to drive a car than a truck, Bobby wouldn’t hear of it.

Alterations to his beloved pickup truck now allow Bobby to travel in style.

“I’m a truck guy, always have been,” he said with a grin. “It took lots of time finding a new way to get up into the truck cabin, but I found if I throw my legs up there first, I’m in the driver’s seat.”

These days, Bobby is keeping busy with college applications. He hopes to enroll in some business programs soon. He’s also planning a Sweet 16 party for his daughter, Halie Morgan, 15.

“The accident destroyed a lot of things, but its brought me closer to people,” he said. “I think before I do things.

His father offers words of advice for families in similar situations.

“You can do anything you set your mind to do. You can gain control of any situation,” he said. “But if you fear too much, you can become paralyzed.

“No pun intended,” Bobby chimed in.

For more information on Nixon’s book, visit www.

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