Live the Lion was created in an attempt to keep everyone up to date on Lance O'Cull and his road to recovery.

Lance was involved in a car accident near Morehead, Kentucky about 30 miles from where we grew up Thanksgiving weekend of 2010. He was airlifted from the scene of the accident to UK Medical Center in Lexington. The doctors told us that they could fix everything below the neck, but his brain was in God's hands. On December 22, after multiple surgeries, Lance was transferred to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia for an intense rehabilitation program.

It was there that Lance began to gradually emerge from a coma. Lance was discharged to home, in Vanceburg on February 17th, to continue his therapy with family.

On March 10th, Lance's 25th birthday, he stood on his feet for the first time in 103 days, with lots of help. On May 11th, Lance was accepted into Cardinal Hill's brain injury unit. There he impressed and amazed our family and friends, as well as his therapists through the progress he made everyday.

Between September 2011 and April of 2012, Lance was back and forth between Cardinal Hill's inpatient program and Shepherd Center's inpatient and outpatient program. He has had a couple minor surgeries to enhance his healing and a baclofen pump inserted to help with the tone in his body.

For the past year, Lance is back in Lewis County splitting his time with both parents. He continues to travel to Ashland 3 times a week and Lexington once a week. He is learning to walk again and we couldn't be more thrilled.

It hasn't been easy, Lance has had some setbacks and tears still fall. But he is up and running this marathon. And we are all running right along beside him.

Most of the blog entries have been made by myself, Chelcee, the big sister, Brock, our baby brother, and Dr. Johnny, our dad. Our goal is for Lance to finish this blog as soon as he is able.

God has been with Lance and our entire family, giving us strength. We give Him the Glory. He is the God of Miracles.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

the new year can reset life and stuff

Last year on New Years Day, I witnessed something a little crazy. Lance and my good friend, Aaron Kegley (better known as Keg) decided to do something adventurous to start the year off right. They wanted to jump in Kinniconick Creek. Some of you may have heard of the Polar Bear Plunge. This was similar, except... Lewis County style :)
Some of our friends and family didn't think they would do it... However, I knew they would. Lance and Keg are very similar. When either of them set their mind to something, they do it. Especially, if its out of the norm. 
So, on January 1st 2010 around 9am, we headed to one of my friend's farm that sits right on Kinney. 
Outside temp was 22. The water was 35 degrees
 My mom came along with a shower curtain rod. I think she thought she could pull them in out of the water, should they freeze. Ben Harrison, Megin Maugans and I got situated with our cameras and I was thinking to myself, they are just going to climb up on the tree stump, jump in and get out. 


But Lance obviously had other plans... he started reading poetry by Walt Whitman. This seems to last forever. 

Flood-Tide of the River, flow on! i watch you, face to face. Clouds of the west! sun half an hour high! I see you also face to face

-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass.

We watched, bundled in our coats, hats, gloves and snowboots as they stripped down to shorts and water shoes and finally, they climbed up on the tree stumps, planned where they would jump 

And, then they took the plunge!

The looks on their faces when they came above water was absolutely priceless.
They named it The Kinneydip.

This is a text message I received from Keg earlier today, "I know the Kinneydip was in Lance's plans this year and that he is looking forward to how "the new year can reset life and stuff." It seemed only appropriate to keep the tradition going in only its sophomore year... So, the 2nd annual Kinneydip was a much warmer 45 degrees compared to the previous years 22. But, the thawing snow and ice made up for it with frigid waters from the melting runoff. Instead of the plunge, the slow march seemed like a good idea this year. In hindsight, I'm not sure what i was thinking. While the attendance this year was down to only me and my ol' man, he assisted with a few photos."

Even though Kinneydip 2011 was just Keg, I feel very confident that Lance was there in spirit and that he will be there in the future. Jumping in freezing water takes a lot of courage. That, or just being completely nonsensical. But what my brother is doing today, and what he has been doing for the past 35 days is far more courageous than anything he has ever done, or hopefully will ever have to do. 
I shared the text and the pictures with Lance this evening. We even looked at the pictures from last years Kinneydip. He gave me a thumbs up when I asked him what he thought about it.
In a voicemail that Ben left him this evening, he told Lance to give me a thumbs up. It took him a minute, but he did it. He smiled at my dad today. Keep praying and things will keep happening for Lance. We can't wait to share more good news with everyone everyday! 

"The new year can reset life and stuff" 

*Prayers for Shannon Gilbert's recovery and strength for the family are greatly appreciated. They are keeping her in a drug-induced coma for a couple more days. I'm going to try to update on her status on here as soon as we know*


  1. I check this blog every day. Somehow, it has become very special to me. This entry may very well be my favorite. . . the county's finest youths (including the very staunch-in-all-pursuits, Mr. Harrison) indulging in Whitmanesque freedom!

    Lance has an army of followers, many of them prayer warriors. Keep the faith!

  2. This made my day!! what a wonderful story! and if a smile was ever worth a million dollars then that one had to be it!!! Our prayers and thoughts are with you all every day we are waiting for Lance's Victory for surely it is on the way! We are also keeping Shannon in our prayers and thoughts each day. My sister in law and her husband who is good friends with Shannon's dad visited her yesterday and they say she looks very good and vitals are all good and the swelling has appeared to stop and were all praying for some good news there tomorrow! Maybe they too will get a million dollar smile:)

  3. It sounds like it's time to pull out the Whitman poetry or some of Lance's other favorites and read to him! But I bet you're already doing this.

    I'm so excited to hear of the smile and the thumb's up! I gave our son and Lance's former roommate Ian a copy of the book Survivor's Club- a very interesting read. I bet Lance would love it. What a survivor!

  4. Wow this post is quintessential Lance! Largely random and spontaneous, but always based in thought and reason (i.e. our college house...LA HAFA)

    I appreciate your dedication to this blog. It keeps me updated on the status of such a dear friend. Know that more prayers are coming all the way from Phoenix, Arizona!