A Cedar Falls sailor, severely injured in Afghanistan, is making great strides in his recovery. In May, Taylor Morris lost both legs, left arm, and right hand in an IED explosion. He has spent the last four months in therapy at Walter Reed Medical Center. Morris is now walking on prosthetic legs, and using his prosthetic arms for daily activities.
Thousands of people are watching Morris' progress online. Their hearts sink when he stumbles, they cheer when he meets a goal, and it's all thanks to the sailor's friends and family.
"I just wanted to make sure people know Taylor's story," said friend, and website manager Ben Hagarty.
Hagarty is one of Morris' closest friends. He's also the one of the guys making sure all of the sailor's achievements are posted online -- and that we know about them. From a stroll down the sidewalk, to dancing with longtime girlfriend Danielle.
"Me and Tim want to eventually create a documentary about him, and show the real true struggle. And so I call them and say, hey, make sure you're filming with your iPhone this way instead of this way!" said Hagarty.
The "Tim" Hagarty mentioned is photographer and friend, Tim Dodd. Over the course of two visits, Dodd has taken stunning photos of Morris and Danielle. The images show how strong, and how in love, the pair are.
"I know he can handle it. And he's handling it really well. And I think, Danielle as well too. She's incredible as far as being his best friend and his best aid," said Hagarty.
Morris and Danielle say, they read every letter, every online post. On the days when the hurdles seem too high, those messages are what keep the pair going.
"It's incredible. I don't think, if he didn't have that response from people, I don't know where he would be at right now. He'd be fighting, but he wouldn't be able to fight this hard," said Hagarty.
Hagarty, along with Morris' sister Claire, are organizing a glow stick run in the sailor's name. That will take place Saturday night. There's a prize for the best glow stick costume -- an iPad, which someone recently donated to Morris. Hagarty said, he's not much of a runner, but he's looking forward to seeing the streets lit up in honor of his friend.
The Taylor Morris Glow Stick 5K event kicks off at 7:30 Saturday night at Washington Park in Cedar Falls. The race itself starts at 8:30. Entry fee is $25. For more information, click here.
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