My name is Daniel Alvarez. On October 28, 2007 while I was leaving a Halloween party I was shot in the back. The bullet hit my spine at the T3-T4 level and left me completely paralyzed from the chest down. I was 21 at the time. Growing up an athlete I never thought the day would come where I would lose my ability to stand, walk, and run. My life was changed forever because someone decided that they would start a fight, take a gun and shoot someone that had no gang affiliation. I had never been to jail or anything like that. I was just a young guy finding his way, loving life, playing ball or practicing MMA or boxing and for the most part keeping to myself, a situation that happens all the time in America. It was devastating to learn that I would never walk again at 21. I worked hard to stay positive and continue to be my silly, jokey self. The first few years were pretty hard, just figuring out how my body worked now and what I could and couldn’t do. I stayed in a shell and did not do much, just waiting for the “cure” that they have been talking about for a while. After 4 or 5 years you realize that it’s not coming anytime soon and you just have to live life to the best of your ability so that is what I have been doing ever since. I know that there are a lot of other people that have it worst than I do so I try to keep a positive attitude and now I am well on my way to a long and hopefully successful painting and photography career.