The miracle man
By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of the Landis family
Jonny Landis is proof that miracles happen. Jonny has defied the odds time and again since surviving a 32-foot fall from a balcony a little over a year ago. He spent his 19th birthday in the hospital fighting for his life, but this year, he celebrated his 20th birthday as an inspiration to many.
The list of ailments and medical procedures Jonny pushed through from his injuries is staggering. He had to learn how to do absolutely everything again, beginning with swallowing and holding his head up, which were tough challenges. Having worked on his mind and body every day for 13 months, he is now doing CrossFit workouts, yoga, physical therapy, speech therapy and eye therapy. He recently completed a 5K on an anti-gravity treadmill, and he loves to cook.
Jonny’s neurosurgeon told him that with lots of hard work, he could become a neurosurgeon himself, basically saying he could live a limit-free life. Jonny absolutely beamed sharing this news and considered it the highest compliment he could receive for all the hard work he had put in. “In order to do this, I have to continue to rehab my eyes, which are now 20/25 in my left and 20/80 in my right which is awesome because at one point I was blind in my right eye and was told I may never see out of it again,” Jonny said.
His athleticism from being a life-long hockey player and a four-year varsity lacrosse player at Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) has been helpful in his recovery. “Never stop the fight” was put on bracelets sold in his name and he lives up to that phrase every day showing his will and grit to keep going.
In addition to his parents, Gina and Jon, and sisters Madeline and Kate, Jonny has a large extended family and network of close friends from his RCHS days and his time at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. “Blood brothers,” he calls them. The Landis family credits the huge amount of love, support and prayers from family, friends, the local community and from around the world as an instrumental part in Jonny’s recovery.
Jonny said, “I will tell you what I thought a lot about when in the hospital – it was about how I wanted to show those who I do truly love how much I love them.” Jonny expresses his love to his family and friends often now, telling them he loves them and explaining why.
A miracle man with a kind heart and fierce determination, Jonny plans to ease his way back to taking classes at CU. On the one-year anniversary of his fall, Jonny was given a special pin by one of the doctors who helped save his life. Jonny said he will wear the pin at his college graduation.