In 2012, Robert Coon was a truck driver in training when he was brutally stabbed and left for dead at a Perris truck stop. His attacker or attackers were never found.
"Apparently, they had used me as a pin cushion. I never knew it, never saw it coming," said Coon.
The Nevada man woke up two weeks later at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, paralyzed from the neck down.
"I can't move. I can't go anywhere. I thank God for the nurses and the nursing assistants. If it wasn't for them, I would have lost my mind," said Coon.
Coon has regained some movement in his left hand. The once active outdoorsman has been confined to his hospital bed for more than a year.
"He is a prisoner of his body. He's a prisoner of being in this hospital room that he can't get out and get fresh air," said Brian Pearcy, a Riverside attorney and member of the Riverside County Bar Association.
Coon's predicament came to Pearcy's attention during the holidays. Each year, the association's Elves Program works with the Riverside County District Attorney's Victim Services to find people in need of help.
It's unlikely Coon will ever get back the life he once had, but the legal community is working to free him from a life sentence of immobility. They are trying to raise $50,000 for a customized wheelchair.
"It's like having a special orthotic, and so money is what it is going to take," said Pearcy.
Because Coon is not a resident of California, he is not eligible for any state assistance to pay for his mounting hospital bills, much less a wheelchair.
"The chair will give me independence. From here, if I had someone put me in the chair, I could go outside," said Coon.
For donation information, contact Gabriella Beaudoin at the Riverside County District Attorney's Office of Victim Services at (866) 217-3766.
Checks can be made payable to: Victim Witness Emergency Fund, with "Wheelchair for Robert Coon" written on the memo line.
Donations can be sent to:
Riverside County District Attorney's Office
C/O Victim Services
3960 Orange Street
Riverside, CA 92501