On March 3, Andrew Mangan will board a plane to join his fellow U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship recipients in Washington, D.C. Exactly one year before, he walked off a plane from Denver on crutches, rehabbing a broken neck.
In December 2016, Andrew fractured his C5 vertebrae, paralyzing him from the shoulders down. He was rushed to E.C.M.C., and days later began rehab at a renowned hospital in Denver. 72 days after beginning, he returned home, focused on the road ahead.
"There's one thing we can choose every day, and that's our attitude," Andrew said.
Andrew went into the Denver hospital with one goal in mind: to walk out. After passing that milestone, he continues to look forward, fixed on pursuing his recovery.
"I never really doubted that I'd be able to have a full recovery," Andrew said. "I never questioned it."
A year after his injury, Andrew joined his family in watching his sister Tricia race for the U.S. Ski Team in South Korea.
"It was a celebration of life, really," their father David Mangan said. "Since Andrew's injury we've all had a much keener appreciation of that."
A huge milestone in Andrew's recovery was getting back to rowing. He competed with his parents and five siblings in the 2017 Head of the Charles Regatta, an event he strived to get back to. The race marked the first time his family ever rowed as a full team of eight.
Ever invested in his academics as he continues to rehab, Andrew was accepted to Stanford University, and is waiting to hear from Harvard and Princeton. Last December, he was selected as one of 104 nationwide U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship recipients. He will spend a week in the capitol city beginning on March 3.
"We're always looking forward," David Mangan said. "Enjoying the moment, and looking forward."
The past few months have given the Mangan family many reasons to look forward. But for Andrew, it was always about looking up and getting better, day by day. As he continues to strengthen himself, he's excited for college, looking to join the rowing team wherever he ends up in the fall.