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MFA News: News/Press Releases

Things Happen for a Reason

Friday, April 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rebecca Nordan
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For Robert Willis, gardening on his son’s farm on a spectacular June day was supposed to be a cathartic and pleasurable experience. But his ordeal on that day, like many others over the course of his life, is indicative of a world where life can take a detour. “Things happen for a reason” Willis asserts.


Back in 2008 Willis was initially hospitalized for a catheterization, but woke up eleven hours later after having quadruple bypass surgery.  Doctors stated that if he had waited another week he would have died. Then in 2014 he was informed by a cardiologist that one of the graphs had collapsed. After a procedure to repair that he recovered nicely and entered UNC Wellness Center’s Cardiac Rehab program.


So with renewed energy, thanks to regular exercise and a healthy diet, Robert began working on his son’s new house and clearing land for a garden.  Needing a place to store his gardening equipment, he opened the door to a shed-like building on the farm, and entered.


Falling… Falling… Falling…


Splash. Robert had fallen 12 feet down into an abandoned well, the well being 42 feet deep total. After his initial bewilderment subsided and realizing his son and wife would not be back on the farm for hours, he had only one option: to climb his way out. The hand dug well had just enough crevices to enable him to get his hands to cling to the sides. About three feet from the top Robert was able to grasp a metal bar and take a short respite. He then pulled himself up the rest of the way and freed himself from the well, and thanked the lord.


Recounting the events, Robert admits how fortunate he was that the fall wasn’t more severe: “I was on blood thinners, somehow I missed hitting the metal bar three feet from the top of the well…if I would have endured a major cut or injury I could have bleed to death.”  The first thing he said to his son when he arrived on the scene was “someone is looking out for me, and I’m truly lucky.”  As for Robert’s wife, after dealing with his various health issues throughout the years, she joked “how much more are you going to put me through?!” 


Robert attests that the nutritional and exercise knowledge he acquired in the Cardiac Rehab program played a crucial role in his ability to climb out of the well. His experience that day engendered a new closeness with his family as well as with god: “I’m here for a reason.” Robert Willis’s story is a good reminder that “sometimes we fall down because there is something down there we’re supposed to find.” May we all someday find that illumination.



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