On January 10, 2018, McKenna Porter, a 20-year-old student at the University of New Mexico, was in a terrible single-vehicle accident on her way back to college. After a truck driver spotted the accident and called 911, McKenna was air-lifted to a trauma center where she underwent 10 hours of surgery for brain and spinal injuries. Paralyzed from the neck down, McKenna spent three weeks in ICU, after which she was able to raise her left arm.
In November 2018, Tracee Porter, McKenna’s mother, visited All About Spas and Leisure Living in Roswell, New Mexico, requesting help moving a used hot tub that was donated to the family. Several subsequent visits to the retail store led Tracee to determine a swim spa would be the best option for McKenna, but it was not financially feasible.
“It just crushed me that someone needed the therapy so much but found it to be out of her reach financially,” says Debi Skains, vice president at All About Spas. “With her paralysis, I knew a swim spa could benefit McKenna in several ways.”
All About Spas offered the swim spa to the Porters at cost. Then she reached out to Kevin Richards, vice president of sales and marketing at Master Spas, who made additional discounts possible. Local companies Kenco Electric and Medina Concrete discounted their services for the installation as well.
“Charity and giving are foundational parts of Master Spas,” Richards says. “When a dealer shares a story like this, we like to help.”
With financing available and the new pricing, the Porters made the purchase. “Unfortunately, we were not able to gift the swim spa to them entirely,” Skains says. “However, with Master Spas’ help and support from local businesses, we were able to get it to her and installed at an extremely discounted rate.”
By early 2019, after continuing rehab therapy, McKenna had full upper body movement and control and, while she had feeling below the waist, was unable to walk. The swim spa was delivered February 4, 2019.
Skains says the water’s buoyancy allows enough relief on McKenna’s weakened muscles that she can work to strengthen them through swimming.
“With the help of swimming and becoming weightless — with gravity no longer an issue — I’ve been able to move weak muscles in the water, exercising dormant parts of my body that I’m unable to move outside the water,” McKenna says.
The Porters stay in regular contact with All About Spas, Skains says. McKenna’s movement and strength continue to improve. Her doctors are hopeful that over time with rehabilitation and therapy, she will regain 90% movement throughout her body.
While McKenna continues to make progress, she is still unable to walk unassisted. “We are hopeful that swimming will be just the therapy she needs to get back on her feet and into a normal life,” Skains says.