SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - A Cal Poly student paralyzed after falling during a hike on Bishop's Peak hopes his ordeal and ongoing recovery will inspire others to overcome obstacles in their lives.
18 year old Evan Lalanne is like many other college freshmen, filled with dreams about the future with a passion and enthusiasm for living life to the fullest.
Lalanne was left paralyzed from the waist down after he slipped and fell while hiking to the top of San Luis Obispo's Bishop's Peak with his girlfriend last December.
While waiting for help to arrive, Lalanne was comforted by Calvary Church of San Luis Obispo Pastor Bryan Stupar who was on the mountain trail when he fell.
Lalanne's dramatic night time helicopter rescue was captured on cell phone video.
"Definitely could have been a different outcome had he (Pastor Stupar) not been there", Lalanne says, "I remember all the paramedics, how they were able to keep me calm, keep me stable and all that, they were just incredible."
Evan Lalanne's days now are filled with physical rehabilitation and therapy for his spinal cord injury in his hometown of Arroyo Grande, filled with gratitude for a remarkable response from the community to his predicament.
"There's a lot of people who have obviously been supporting me and my family and I really want to say thank you to them first and foremost", Lalanne says, "also I just think that my story can definitely impact people and have a positive impact on their lives."
Lalanne says his focus is getting as healthy as possible and returning to life as normal as he can make it.
"You know I played volleyball a lot before, that's maybe something I can't do now but I'm focusing on all the things I can do", Lalanne says, "that's really been the thing to take away from this, you can look at it two ways, you can see all the things you can't do or you can that, there's still a lot that I can do and that's what I'm tying to focus on."
Lalanne says he's driven by the support of his family, friends and hundreds of people he's never met.
"It helps me when I'm a little down, just seeing all of the support that people have been giving me, I don't want to let them down", Lalanne says, "I want to be someone who is a success story and that's really been a big part of keeping me motivated from day to day."
Those who've rallied around Evan Lalanne and his family have helped raise tens of thousands of dollars through his GoFundMe page online which continues to accept donations as his medical bills continue to mount.
Evan Lalanne says he's planning to return to Cal Poly in the Fall to resume pursuing a degree in engineering.