Help Jason Regain Independence.
Jason Wendlandt has dedicated his entire career to helping others. But in October, Jason was in a car accident that left him paralyzed. Now, he needs your help.
Even before he became a nurse, being a caregiver was in Jason’s blood. Growing up, his parents worked for local fire and police departments. Jason spent 18 years of his career as a paramedic/EMT, also serving as the Emergency Management Director for Dallas County, MO.
“I talked for years about becoming a nurse. Finally, one day my wife drove me to the parking lot of our local community college and said, ‘go in, you’re signing up for classes.’ It was the push I needed to become a nurse and it’s been one of the best, most fulfilling career decisions I ever made.”
Jason worked as a staff nurse at Cox Medical Center and Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri for about 4 years. When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021, he transitioned to local travel nursing. The increased pay and flexible schedule allowed him to support his wife during treatments, be present for his kids, and save money.
About a month before his wife finished her cancer treatments, their lives were changed forever. On October 3, 2022, Jason was involved in a car accident on his way home from work that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Despite the adversity, Jason’s character as a hard-working, optimistic family man has remained true.
“I try to maintain a positive attitude about the situation, even though it’s hard,” says Jason. “Everything I’ve ever had, I’ve worked for. I’ve never had to ask for help, and now I need help every single day. This experience has made me incredibly grateful for my community; the neighbors who helped us retrofit our house, our church family who initially fundraised for us, the team at Next Move who continually check up on us and offer to help however they can.”
“It’s also given me new admiration for my nursing patients. They didn’t want to ask for help either. It’s incredibly humbling to be in that position, and I feel incredibly privileged that I was able to help so many people during my time in emergency services and as a nurse.”
How You Can Help
The Wendlandts are seeking donations to help buy hand controls and a locking mechanism for their adaptive van so Jason can drive himself and regain a sense of independence. They are also hoping to buy a tracked wheelchair for Jason that will allow him to spend time in the woods again—something that brought him so much joy before the accident.
“I love being outdoors,” says Jason. “We live on property with woods because it’s such a huge part of my life. Besides time with my family, my favorite things to do before the accident were hunting or fishing or just going on long walks in the woods.”
Jason isn’t just an amazing clinician, he’s an amazing man. During Nurses Appreciation Week, we’re giving back to Jason, someone who has given so much of himself to his community and to patients. If you’d like to help Jason and his family, please consider donating any amount to his family’s GoFundMe page.
To learn more about Jason’s story, check out this article from the Springfield News-Leader.