FRISCO, Texas - A Frisco detective left paralyzed from the chest down by a complication from a long-term illness is fighting hard to get back to work. But he's not doing it alone.
It's not easy when you're the one used to helping people and then the roles are suddenly reversed. But Detective Daniel Bardwell's brothers and sisters in blue are stepping in to make sure he gets to do the job he loves.
All the things Detective Bardwell used to do without a second thought now take every ounce of strength and determination.
The 13-year veteran of the Frisco Police Department and father of two teenage girls was diagnosed at 17 years old with Crohn's disease, causing chronic inflammation of the intestines. He's braved several related surgeries, but nothing like the sudden complication last August that started with neck pain.
“If you'd have given me a choice of a million things that would have happened, this is not one,” he said.
Bardwell was rushed into surgery. An infection left him paralyzed from the chest down. Since then, movement has been slowly coming back.
“All of a sudden, something like this happens and you realize all the components that actually go into standing up,” he said.
Jill, his wife, has been by his side for more than 18 years.
“We've seen from a toe wiggle to finger movement to being able to lift his right leg,” she said. “And with each of those, we just celebrate.”
The goal for the crimes against persons detective is simple: Get back to work.
Fellow Frisco officers are doing everything they can to make it happen by raising money for a wheelchair accessible van so Bardwell can one day drive himself to work.
“Just let the help happen. Everybody wants to help to do their part, whatever it may be — little or big,” said Officer Ryan Chandler. “So I think that they are really feeling that love from the police department now.”
It’s the kind of love from a brotherhood and community that could help get a man back on his feet.
“We've decided this isn't an ‘If I'm going to walk again.’ It's when I walk again,” Bardwell said. “And we've stayed that way since day one.”
This weekend, select Schlotzsky's Deli restaurants are donating a portion of their proceeds to help Detective Bardwell. A YouCaring account has also been set up.