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Pay It Forward recipient's rehab facility dream comes true

Hal Hargrave Jr., founder of the Be Perfect Foundation, in an interview with Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013.
January 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The dream for a man aspiring to start a spinal cord rehabilitation center has come true. On Wednesday, the brand new facility opened thanks in part to the generosity of ABC7 viewers.

Chris Seibel couldn't stand up three years ago. But on Wednesday, he walked into the facility without help.

"I can't believe we're here, it's incredible," Siebel said. "It's happening in a very short time."

Seibel, who submitted a video to ABC7 nominating the Be Perfect Foundation for the station's Pay It Forward campaign, ended up in a wheelchair after being in an ATV accident. Thanks to the Be Perfect Foundation and its extraordinary founder, Hal Hargrave Jr., Seibel was given a chance to walk again.

Once a sports star, Hargrave also saw his life change with a traffic accident that broke his neck. He started a rehab center at the Claremont Club inside a racquetball court, but ran out of space. He dreamed of building a bigger center nearby.

That became ABC7's first ever Pay It Forward story. We were surprising nonprofits with $7,000 at the time.

"After people saw the Pay It Forward piece, I think they were moved," Hargrave said. "We had a lot of phone traffic from potential donors wanting to get involved."

Hargrave has raised nearly $2 million and his dream is now a reality.

The new facility will allow at least double or triple the clients like 6-year-old Johnny Williams, who is re-learning to walk after myelitis paralyzed him.

"For us, it means hope that there's a chance that my son could walk again," said the boy's mother, Danielle Williams of Alta Loma.

The facility is a partnership between Project Walk and the Be Perfect Foundation.

"When I look at this now and I see all the great people around me and the people I've met, I think now more than ever it makes sense why my accident happened," Hargrave said. "I get to wake up every day and I'm proud to be who I am, I'm proud to say I know these people, I'm proud to say we're going to keep moving forward, one step at a time."


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