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Hunter falls from tree, loses use of legs

November 28, 2011

By Marissa Amoni, Montgomery.Patch.com

Dean and Dianne: A Love Story—Now with Wheels

Oswego resident Dean Morrissette fell from a tree Oct. 30, and lost the use of his legs. His wife, Dianne, says they are only in the first few chapters of their love story.

The month of November has been a whirlwind for Dianne Morrissette. Nearly every day, she has been driving back and forth from her Oswego home to visit her husband, Dean, as he recovers from a hunting accident.

Dean, 51, spent 17 days at St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill. after he fell out of his tree stand at the end of a weekend hunting trip with Dianne and his brothers.

Posted by Dianne Morissette on Facebook: "(Dean) had a hunting accident, fell from his tree stand and severed his spine and spinal cord. He is in the neuro-critical care unit at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria....he was airlifted there Sunday night, had surgery yesterday. He is doing pretty good considering. They say he will never walk, he is paralyzed from the waist down...we know he will fight it and walk/run again!"

The couple set up to hunt for deer about a field apart from each other in the late afternoon on Oct. 30. They hadn't shot any deer yet that weekend, so they were hoping to get one before leaving. Dianne explained that they normally get two deer, and donate one to a family in need. "It feeds their whole family," she said.

At about 4 p.m., Dianne text-messaged Dean and didn't receive a reply. She waited about 10 minutes before getting down from her tree and driving to his hunting spot where she found him lying on the ground.

"I didn't know where we were. We were in the middle of nowhere," said Dianne, who called one of her brothers-in-law for help.

They were hunting in Summum, IL, about an hour south of Peoria. An ambulance arrived to find Dean in and out of consciousness; the paramedics called a helicopter to transport him due to his condition.

"The chance of regaining (the use of) his legs is zero," said Dianne of Dean's prognosis. When he fell, he severed his spine and fractured vertabrae in his neck, leaving him paralyzed. He was moved from St. Francis in Peoria to Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, where he remains, with a release slated for Dec. 6.

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