Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

Fundraiser for Pine Bluffs man paralyzed in 2011 farming accident


A Pine Bluffs man is asking the community for help after losing a piece of equipment that helps him get around.

Gary Shandera was herding cattle on a dirt bike in 2011 when he hit a badger hole. He fell off the bike and in the process injured his spinal cord.

“The cows had gotten out,” Shandera said. “I was out on my motorcycle chasing them back in when I hit a badger hole.

“I somersaulted off the bike and injured my spinal cord.”

He was life flighted from the site of the wreck to Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, Neb.

After that, he was transported to a hospital in Craig, Colo. where he stayed for several weeks.

Since then, he’s been a quadriplegic. He needs a wheelchair to get around, but that hasn’t stopped him from living a full life.

Shandera keeps a 2,000 square foot garden. He makes it to the fitness center to work out.

But for the past few months, the lift that helps him get in and out of his bi-level home broke — and those aren’t cheap to replace.

“I like to get out of the house,” he said. “Without my lift, I can’t do that.”

Sometimes his wife or caregiver is at his home to assist him. When Shandera is home alone, though, he’s pretty much on his own. If there were a fire, he’d be unable to exit his home without the lift if he’s home alone.

When his caregiver’s mother heard about his situation, she stepped in to raise money for a new lift.

Shandera will have his new lift — hopefully by the end of this week — but he’ll have to pay about $9,000 back to someone who generously loaned him the money.

That’s where the community steps in. An account at Farmer’s State Bank in Pine Bluffs was opened in Shandera’s benefit. He’s hoping to raise $9,000 to pay back the lift.

“It’s life-changing,” Shandera said. “It makes a world of difference to have that.”

The person who thought to start the fundraiser wishes to remain anonymous, Shandera said.


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