After a hard tackle in a rugby match, Alec ‘Bunk’ Wurth knew everything had changed the second he hit the ground. Getting hit by an opponent was nothing new to the avid athlete, but in 2006, this one particular hit would take Bunk’s life in a drastically new direction. The art teacher to special education students, who spent hours in the gym each day, was instantly paralyzed from the neck down.
Even with the weight of new challenges on his shoulders, Bunk had a vision of what he wanted to do after his accident. He wanted to continue growing in his two passions: teaching and art. He didn’t know how he would accomplish these goals – until he found Goodwill of Orange County’s Fitness Center and Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC).
“I was always a workout guy, I always enjoyed being active and going to the gym as much as possible,” said Bunk. “The Goodwill Fitness Center allowed me to go back to my old routine and get back into the gym.”
At the Fitness Center, Bunk receives physical therapy that’s enabling him to fulfill hopes for the future. He enjoys regular independent workouts to relieve tension in his neck and help him stay comfortable.
Simultaneously, Bunk is pursuing his artwork and a second master’s degree so he can return to the classroom.
The dedicated ATEC team helped him find the best computer and devices to tackle his schoolwork, and taught him how to use them. Today, Bunk uses speech software and a head pointer to control his computer mouse with slight movements of his head along with voice commands.
No matter the challenge, Bunk kept his vibrant personality and passion for painting.
“Art makes you feel freedom, not living in the boundaries of everyday,” he said.
With art as his escape, and a newfound confidence, Bunk has mastered the technique of painting with his mouth to make his concepts come to life.
“If I can paint with my mouth, anyone can create art with their hands!”
His most recent masterpiece is a beautiful American flag painting he completed as a gift for Goodwill’s President. The show-stopping piece of work now proudly hangs on display at the Goodwill of Orange County headquarters in Santa Ana.
With the sense of hope and capability Bunk received at the Goodwill Fitness Center and Assistive Technology Exchange Center, he continues to strive for more out of life, both physically and artistically.
Bunk leaves us with his personal mantra: “The only way to lose is quit.”
To learn more about Bunk’s journey and see the impact of the life-changing work being done at the Goodwill Fitness & Technology Center and Assistive Technology Exchange Center, watch this video.