Your life can change in a minute. One moment you could be driving home, and in the blink of an eye, your whole life can be turned upside down. For Craig Towler, he knows exactly what it’s like to have your life completely altered within seconds.
He didn’t always look like this. Craig lived a full and active life with two legs before July 4, 2016 – when he would get in a tragic accident that would change his life forever. But don’t worry, there’s a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel. And we’re here to tell you the most inspiring story about Craig’s journey.
Meet Craig Towler
If you can’t tell from his chiseled physique, Craig Towler was nothing short of a gym nut. Caught up in his twenty-somethings, Craig would spend his days working out, exploring Colorado, and living an athletic and adventurous life. In fact, he even thought it was fun to compete in 10k races on a regular basis. While we much prefer a bubbly brunch, we admire this of hobby his, especially since it helped keep him in such good shape.
Growing up in Boulder, he felt as if the city was his. He fully embraced his surroundings and got into hiking and spending his days in the great outdoors. Using every part of his body all day every day wasn’t just a normal thing for Craig, it was essential for the kind of daring life he lived.
Craig Made Sure He Was Living His Life To the fullest Everyday
Whether if it was going on vacations or planning weekend hiking trips, Craig has always been known for having a good time all the time. Some people would even say that he would rather be outdoors than anywhere else. With one scroll through his Instagram account, you can only find pictures of him golfing, fishing, and even playing on some jet ski’s on a lake.
This picture above is a perfect indication of a day in Craig’s life. Posed with a few of his buddies, this was taken right before they began to hike Green Mountain in Colorado. This was also four months prior to the day of his accident – a day that would cause him never to be able to look back at this picture the same way.
The Start of Something New
In new relationships, or at least in the dating process, everything is supposed to be super light and fun. At first, there’s an element of compatibility that needs to be tested before making things official. Well, for Craig and Amanda, they had hit things off from their first date! Both of them coming from athletic backgrounds, and both pretty easy on the eyes; it was as if they were destined to find each other.
After having two successful dates and maintaining great communication, Craig was ready for the next step – introducing her to his friends. And what could be more fun or romantic than spending the fourth of July together to watch the fireworks light up the night sky? Sadly, this would be a date that wouldn’t happen for them on July 4, 2016.
The Anticipation for July 4th
Aside from the fourth of July already being the huge celebration it is nationally, that year, it was supposed to be extra special for Craig. Not only was he planning a special date for his new potential girlfriend, but he would be working as a timer in a race his place of work was hosting. But this joy would quickly fade.
Towler remembers every aspect of this day very clearly as if it were just yesterday. That morning, he left his home in the Boulder Reservoir to head to the July 4th race that BBSC Endurance Sports – his job – hosts every year. Everything went as expected throughout the morning, without any glitches. But when it came to the end of his day, he could have never expected what would happen.
The Big Hit
Once the race had ended and everyone had packed up their equipment, Craig made his way home to prepare for the rest of the day’s festivities. The plan was simple: go home, load up the car, head to the firework show with his friends and Amanda. Now we make plans, and life has other things that get in the way, and this would be one plan that Craig had no control over.
Craig was at his house unpacking his things from the race when all of a sudden – BOOM! A car crash – Craig had been hit. He had said, “I was standing behind the tailgate of my SUV and felt an impact that pushed me into the back of my vehicle.”
Time Stood Still but Not for Long
Within seconds from the impact, Craig’s body went into complete shock. He literally could not feel anything. “Before I knew what had happened, I looked down and saw both of my legs detached,” he wrote. “I was in tremendous shock at the time, but I remember everything very vividly.”
From that moment on, the countdown to keep Craig alive had begun – the clock was ticking. “I immediately knew that my life was in danger, and action had to be taken immediately in order to survive,” he wrote. “I didn’t realize at the time what had happened, but I knew something had happened that was major.”
Craig Took Control of the Situation
While there’s nothing to be thankful for in an accident like this, the only good part was that it took place in his neighborhood where plenty of people were around. Neighbors, visitors, and strangers alike rushed to Craig’s side, expecting to see him in the worst state possible. Yes, he was physically in a terrible state, but his mind was as sharp as ever. So sharp that he saved himself by instructing people on exactly what needed to be done.
In an interview with SWNS.com, he stated, “I instructed them how to tie tourniquets around my legs with belts or whatever they had to stop the bleeding.” When he could see just how fast he was losing blood, Craig knew that he didn’t have time to wait for professional help to arrive. And by the time help arrived, they would need to move at lightning speed to keep him alive.
Keeping Craig Alive
By the time the police and ambulance had arrived, it was already starting to be too late on Craig’s ever ticking life clock. The fastest way to get Craig to the hospital and keep him alive was via helicopter. So he was airlifted to the trauma center at the closest hospital, Denver Health Medical Center.
What still is so mind-blowing in this whole situation is that Craig was completely conscious throughout this entire experience. He was very much living through this tragedy for every second that passed by. To say he’s been traumatized is putting it lightly, especially when he even watched the paramedics battle to keep him alive.
Saving Craig’s Life Meant That Surgery Needed to Happen
Once he had arrived at the hospital, he was rushed into immediate surgery. The doctors realized when they began operating that the makeshift belt-solution wrapped around Craig’s legs was the sole reason he was able to stay alive for so long after he had been hit. Because of the surgery they performed, they were able to save Craig’s life, but it wasn’t enough to keep them from breaking some hard news to him.
As soon as Craig became conscious, the doctors revealed the hard truth. In Craig’s words, “it was either life or limb” when it came to the decision of amputating both of his legs. Should he have chosen not to do that, he would have most likely bled to death. As much as he had a choice, he really didn’t. But before his life was about to change forever, he had one simple request…
Postponing His Firework Date
In order to fully amputate his legs, Craig was going to undergo five surgeries; needless to say he wouldn’t be available for a while. And somehow, within the midst of the madness he’d experienced, he still managed to remember he had plans for that night. There was no easy way for him to tell Amanda what happened, but he knew he had to tell her the truth – that their date was canceled due to an unexpected accident.
From his hospital bed, Craig had his friend search for his phone so that he could update Amanda. Even though they had only been seeing each other for three weeks, he knew she was special and couldn’t just disappear, despite what had just happened to him. And as fate may have had it, he could have never known just how special she would be to him.
Love at First Sight of Amanda Schiewe
While the couple had only been seeing each other for about three weeks before Craig’s nightmare had happened, he had his eye on Amanda for a much longer time than that. Originally he spotted her at the gym he works out at where she also happened to be a fitness trainer at. And with Craig’s good looks and charisma, he even admitted it took some time for him to get the courage to approach Amanda.
Craig was crushing so hard on Amanda that he even tried to schedule his workouts around the times she would be working at the gym – just so he could be around her. But just as their love story was starting, there was a chance that Craig’s life could be ending. But don’t reach for those tissues just yet.
While Craig Was Fighting for His Life, Amanda Had No Idea That Their Date Would Be Cancelled
Like most girls in new relationships, Amanda was beyond giddy to spend the fourth of July with her newest beau. She had spent most of the day primping and prepping to look her best for a fun-filled night of fireworks, flirting, and making new friends! But time was passing, and she hadn’t heard from Craig and she couldn’t understand why.
In one of her Instagram posts, she wrote “I was getting nervous. Craig is NOT the kind of gentleman to just ditch a gal … and we were so excited to spend the evening together. Something was up. I never expected to hear the kind of news I received.”
The Call Amanda Never Thought She Would Get
And then, her phone rang. And her world froze. It was Craig who was calling her, but it wasn’t Craig’s voice on the other end of the line. Cedric, one of Craig’s friends, had called Amanda and told her everything about the accident and what was coming next for Craig regarding his amputations. But most importantly, he made sure to emphasize on Craig’s behalf just how sorry Craig was to cancel the date – of all things!
Not only was Amanda stunned at the fact that he called to apologize about canceling the date – she just couldn’t believe a call was made to her at all! They weren’t officially dating and had barely known each other well at that point in time. Amanda had confessed that “the fact that he was even thinking of me made me fall for him even harder.” And with that, Amanda knew there was only one place that she needed to be, and it was with him.
Amanda Showed up for Craig and Never Left
It didn’t matter that she barely knew him, or the fact that they weren’t even together – when Amanda got the call that Craig was in the hospital, the only thing she was able to do was to go be with him. She rushed to the hospital as fast as she could to be by Craig’s side, and she never left. Amanda physically stayed at the hospital with Craig for weeks, watching him undergo countless procedures.
Poor Craig not only had to deal with his body changing forever, but he had to spend his 29th birthday in the hospital. But don’t worry, Amanda was there for that too. In an interview with SWNS.com, Craig confessed, “I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but she was there immediately, no questions asked and I knew she would be the one for me.” Now, if this isn’t love, then we don’t know what is.
Dealing With Reality
Craig had to come to terms with a few things in the weeks that followed the car crash. Not only was he basically learning how to live without legs, but he had to comprehend his accident – in terms of why him? Why had it been Craig Towler that had to be the main character in this tragedy of all the people in the world?
Part of coping with his new life meant understanding what led to him losing his legs. And as it turns out, the man who was responsible for all of this had chosen to drive while impaired. The fact that one person’s poor judgment drastically changed another’s life, gives us bone-chilling shakes. But with Craig’s can-do attitude, he came to terms with what had happened and decided to move on with his new life.
Learning How to Date All Over Again
To say Craig and Amanda’s relationship is not typical is putting it lightly. Not only were they just getting to know each other when Craig’s accident occurred, but they had to completely forget everything they knew about dating and start from scratch. The pace of their relationship was accelerated because they needed to trust and communicate with each other in a much different way from your average couple.
So aside from spending the beginning of their couplehood in a hospital room every night, they had to figure out new ways to have fun, given their new limitations. But honestly, that wasn’t even the hard part because Craig didn’t let him being confined to a chair stop him from doing anything he wanted to do.
And Just Like That, They Moved in Together
No part of Craig’s new life or new relationship were things that came easy to him. Considering he was facing some of the lowest moments of his whole life, he was trying to navigate these emotions paired with everything else that was thrown his way. But luckily for Craig, he never had to experience any of this alone.
Amanda never stopped caring for Craig or even made him question their relationship since July 4th had happened. They had grown so close to each other during Craig’s initial recovery period that it just made sense for them to move in with each other. So following the eight months he had been released from the hospital, they told their families and friends that their two homes would become one.
Craig Made Sure to Adapt to His New Lifestyle Immediately
Undergoing the accident for Craig completely turned his world upside down. And while most people would have taken some time to process everything, Craig refused to be patient and wanted to start accepting his new body and life from the moment he was released from the hospital.
One month after he returned home, he picked up his life right where he left off. He returned to work, but he didn’t stop there. Being active, physically fit, and competing in races had always been a part of his life, and he was more than ready to get back into this world.
Competing Always Had Been and Always Would Be a Part of His Life
Before his accident, Craig had always dreamed of competing in the BOLDERBoulder race. And even without legs, he saw no issue in signing up for the race. Obviously, he knew things would be different this time around in a race; his training would be different in addition to his timings. But he had a new start to make even more personal records.
Well, exactly ten months after the doctors removed his legs Craig competed in the BOLDERBoulder race. With the help of his trusty wheelchair and the unconditional support from his friends, family, and doctors – it was as if this competition was no different from any other one.
A New Normal
The BOLDERBoulder race would be the first of many races for Craig to compete in since losing his legs. Not only is he still constantly competing, but he’s learned to take on new sports and activities that are more than accommodating for his circumstances. And with the right equipment, the possibilities are endless for what Craig can do on any given day, in any given season.
Whether it’s kayaking, climbing rope, hand cycling, and even skiing, Craig is still as active as ever. While most of the time, he is eager to overcome a challenge throw his way, he admits that it’s a bit exhausting. He said, “the fact of the matter is that no matter how positive my outlook is, and how motivated I am to succeed, this experience has changed me for the rest of my life.”
Craig Got Robotic Legs
Since his accident, Craig adjusted and adapted to his new way of living from a chair. He got used to the fact that walking would no longer be something a part of his life and that whatever he wanted to do, needed to be wheelchair accessible. That was until the idea of using prosthetic legs came into play.
Yup, you got it – Craig got his legs back. Well, robotic legs, that is. And with grace and determination, he learned how to use his new feet as if they had been attached to him all along. Not to mention, he cracks some jokes on his own Instagram account about his new gear. In this picture above, he even captured it “flexible Friday.”
He Became a Spokesperson for People Like Him
Craig had realized that while he had experienced the incredible loss of losing body parts, he’s not the only person that has gone through something like that. In fact, he became quite active in the amputee community in Boulder, Colorado. Not only did he make friends, but he realized some initiative needed to be taken to make his community more inclusive and accommodating.
After experiencing firsthand that the resources he and others like him needed were just not available, Craig took matters into his own hands. Therefore, he created Amputee Concierge – an online and completely free program that provides information, resources, and much more to people who have also lost limbs or have family members struggling with this experience.
His Body May Have Changed, but His Mind Remained the Same
If you knew Craig before his accident, then the only thing you would say that’s different about him is his physical appearance. Sure, he doesn’t have his legs anymore, but that doesn’t mean his beliefs or values have been altered. If anything, his outlook on life has enhanced. But overall, he’s still the same fun loving, athletic, competitive person that everyone has always known.
“This experience may have changed me physically, but my core values and life goals have not changed,” Craig said.“I am lucky to be alive today, so every second that I am here is a blessing, and I will use my life experiences to spread positivity and hopefully help motivate people to value the time we have.”
Life Is Worth the Living
To say that Craig’s mental state was fragile after the accident is putting it simply. His legs were his world which was so quickly and unfairly taken away from him. In an interview, he said that the day he lost his legs was the day he lost control over his life. We can’t even begin to imagine what that could feel like. But instead of wallowing, Craig had to make a choice.
He had to choose to live, to know that his life still had meaning and purpose. That a life without legs is still a life nonetheless. He could have died on July 4, 2016, but he didn’t. He could have died on the days and months following the accident, but he didn’t. Instead, Craig chose and continues to choose to live every single day like it’s his last.
The Biggest Lessons He’s Learned on His Journey
Craig lost a part of himself, but rediscovered a whole new Craig at the same time. He realized just how capable he is to do whatever he desires if he puts his mind to the matter. Truly, he feels unstoppable because he believes he has harnessed the power of taking control over his own life.
On his website, he wrote “There are things in life that can be taken from you that are beyond your control, and there are things in life that no one can take from you. I will not allow anyone or anything to affect how I see good in the world and the people around me, or my attitude when I wake up in the morning.”
The Present With Amanda
Five years later, and Craig and Amanda are still as in love now as they were at the beginning. Their lives are completely intertwined, and they constantly support each other and have fun traveling and being active. Still living together, they’ve even added a precious pup to their tiny family.
For us, there’s no better outcome for these two. What could have easily torn them apart brought them closer than ever. And instead of choosing to let the difficulties get in the way, they chose to let their love be the deciding factor in what keeps them together.
The Future With Amanda
So what’s next? These lovebirds have basically become one soul and their journey is one that people everywhere are inspired by. Seriously, in every picture together on their separate Instagram accounts, it’s like the love they have for each other is bursting through the screens!
While there are no announcements of wedding bells in the air, we’re hopeful that a proposal is in the works in the near future. And honestly, we hope to just be flies on the wall when and if it all goes down. But don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted!
Becoming an Influencer
Craig’s story has brought so much hope and inspiration to all that have heard it. So it was no surprise when the No Bull Project reached out to him for some one-on-one time. The No Bull Project is a brand “for people who train hard and don’t believe in excuses” – this is literally their motto.
Since their meeting, Craig realized that their motto fits his exact mentality about taking ownership of your life and making the best out of every situation. Now he’s constantly rocking and promoting No Bull apparel, and is happy to do so.
Well for Craig, we’re not exactly sure what he’ll dive into next but we’re sure he won’t let failure be an option. To this day, he’s continued to show that just because someone is disabled, it doesn’t mean that they are not able to do something. Whether if it’s sports, traveling, or even finding love – everything is possible if you just believe.
His website is a true testament to all that he is. And with that, we’ll leave you with these words from his story “We have such enormous power with every decision we make, with every reaction we have. If we learn how to harness this power, nothing can harm us. Choose to be free. Choose to be in control. Life is good.”