Nearly seven months after a Charlotte teen suffered a serious spinal-cord injury while diving, he's opening up about his recovery.
Nick Andrade is paralyzed below the neck, and breathing through a ventilator. The Charlotte Catholic High School graduate broke his neck in a diving accident in Brazil in September. He said he nearly drowned.
"I hit my head on a rock. Then I just floated there face down in the water. I was holding my breath, hoping someone could get me," he said.
The Charlotte community raised more than $80,000 for an air ambulance to fly Andrade home. His family is grateful for all the support and prayers.
Andrade's physical therapy will be lengthy, and not entirely covered by insurance. The family is hosting another fundraiser on April 12 to try to cover the costs needed to get him off the ventilator, so he can breathe on his own. They're hopeful he will swim again.
"Trust, have faith and let that conquer and squelch those fears that try to creep up on us," his mother, Karen, said.
The numerous medals near Andrade's bed remind him of his victories as an athlete. Now, he's in the competition of his life, strengthened by the love of so many supporters.
"The community definitely came together, and we became like a family," he said.
The fundraiser on April 12 starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Providence Country Club.