Mark Kalina found gratitude in the most unlikely of places…
Trapped under a train, alone, in the dark, he thought he was going to die there.
Turns out he was about to Rise in ways he could never have foreseen. This is his Rising story.
Mark Kalina grew up in Twinsburg where he ran track and played soccer.
Then, in college, at OSU his life changes drastically when he decided to take a short cut back to his apartment on the other side of train tracks.
“I tripped on something . The train that was stopped started moving and pulling me backwards. I got jostled and fell in between 2 rail cars. I got pulled under the train and tossed around. Both of my legs were cut off. I laid there thinking of all the things I would never be able to do. Never get married. Never have a kid. Never tell my parents I love them again. I thought it was all going to end there. To wake up look down the next day and see that all I’m missing is my legs, I was just happy to be alive.”
Kalina started Rising right then and there. He started learning to walk on prosthetics. Grateful, he says for the support network he had. So he created the Mark Kalina Fr. Foundation to support and provide resources for others who have lost limbs.
Kalina helps patients at Metro Health Medical Center by volunteering. He talks to them one on one with attitude and experience that only comes with “Been there. Done that”.
The Mark Kalina Jr. Foundation tangibly helps families like Adam Carmen’s. Carmen lost his legs in a motorcycle accident. Today his family has an accessible van, compliments of the MKJ Foundation. For Adam and his wife and 2 daughters, it’s the keys to independence.
“I have never received anything like this. You just can’t give yup. I have to keep moving forward. I have to be there for my family and support my 2 little girls. Mark was a big inspiration. Knowing someone was there for me in the same situation I was in, I felt I could carry on the same way,” says Carmen.