I graduated in '05 with a few excellent friends, and I was accepted to Stetson university on a partial academic scholarship (thank you Pace!).
I later received a Community Service scholarship for being Philanthropy Chair of IFC.
The extra scholarship $ was sent to my mailbox instead of being applied to my tuition. So, what does a 20-year-old kid do with $10,000 in his bank account? He buys a motorcycle.
I worked for Morgan Stanley in Miami, and everything was fine down there. Then, I was recruited to their office in Beverly Hills (also, I interned there).
While picking up wine for a date (with my treating nurse! More later.) I was hit by a driver who "didn't see the red light due to sun," but he was facing east during sunset in Hollywood (and very mountainy in California!).
I ran into him and was/am paralyzed from the chest down. I also suffered a "severe" DAI (Diffuse Axonal Injury) brain injury, but thanks to an awesome friendship I made with Rashid Lattouf ('05), his father is very very medically oriented (who used to be a Neurologist!, now Lead Cardiologist at Emory). I have worked/am working with his father in successfully (I think) preventing cognitive decline.
Luckily, my accident was 5 blocks away from, probably, the best hospital in the U.S., Cedars-Sinai. My treating nurse was the girl I was picking up wine for a date with! I was in a coma for 6 weeks (when the paramedics arrived on the accident scene, I was brain-dead). Luckily the friends I made at Pace came to LA when they learned of my accident.
Thanks to great social interactions with Pace Academy friends (Allyne Grawert '05, Rashid Lattouf '05, Azor Smith '05, Mark Smith '05), and awesome continuing relationships with Pace Academy professors, Elizabeth Miller [history of Japan]), those friendships definitely helped in preventing the usual outcome of DAI brain injuries, I strongly believe.
Read a news article, "The Crash That Changed Nicolas Uppal's Life," written by StoryCorps Atlanta 90.1 FM WABE (Atlanta's NPR Station).