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Homecoming for Hendersonville Teen

Updated: Thursday, August 7 2014, 07:53 AM EDT
Homecoming for Hendersonville Teen story image
After months of rehabilitation at a hospital in Atlanta, 19 year-old Madison Cawthorn of Hendersonville received a huge homecoming as he and his parents drove him home Wednesday, to the celebration at Hendersonville's Chick-Fil-A.

Cawthorn was severely injured and almost died after a fiery car accident, as he was coming home from a vacation April 3rd with a good friend in Orlando. With a crushed spinal cord, Cawthorn remains in a wheelchair but his spirit defies the fact that he cannot walk.

"I understand how some of my peers that are in my same situation are thinking this is such a depressed moment," says Madison. "But if I could say one thing to them, I would say just stop continuing to look at your old life, and look at your new life, and see how much you're improving from where you were yesterday."

Madison wanted to go to the Chick-Fil-A for his first lunch at home because it's where he held a part-time job since he was 14. His boss and restaurant owner, Joel Bensen, gave him a huge hug as he welcomed him into his homecoming party 2:30 pm Wednesday.  Friends couldn't stop hugging Madison to welcome him home.

Before the accident Madison admits, he was thinking about his invitation to attend the naval academy, but his injuries have forced him to realize his life will now go in another direction.

Church members from Biltmore Baptist, the family's congregation, have constantly reached out to do whatever they can to help Madison and his family. One church member, James Horton, has given the Cawthorn family his home in Fletcher to use as their own until their home is retro-fitted to be handicap-accessible for Madison.

"For someone to give us this beautiful home and to tell us we can be here as long as we need to be is unbelievable," says Priscilla Cawthorn, Madison's mother.

Horton has faced tragedy, as well. His wife, who was in her mid-forties passed away several year ago from stage IV ovarian cancer. Horton and his wife had put on a special bedroom addition to their home, that was handicap accessible for his late wife's Mother, who was also ill. The house is for sale and since it is empty, Horton felt compelled to offer the Madison and his parents a comfortable home to relax and recuperate after four grueling months since Madison was so seriously injured. 

Madison knows he may never walk again. But doctors have told him there is a chance he could walk, because his spinal cord wasn't completely cut.

"That's all my son needs is a small chance because he's a possiblity thinker," says Priscilla Cawthorn. "And anybody that knows him knows that's all Madison needs."

By: Kimberly King
Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReportsHomecoming for Hendersonville Teen
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