Nephew of paralyzed NC trooper swims for 24 hours to raise money for hospital

SALISBURY, N.C. — Wednesday marks a life-changing day for a local trooper.

One year ago, a driver hit Chris Wooten’s motorcycle during a chase in west Charlotte, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down, but his positivity and passion for life have never been shaken.

We have followed his recovery and Eyewitness News anchor Allison Latos interviewed him in Atlanta, where he has been getting intensive therapy at the Shepard Center.

He is an inspiration to us all, especially his nephew who just finished an incredible feat in his uncle’s honor.

To help other patients at the Shepard Center, Wooten’s nephew, 16-year-old Cooper Sever, swam 1.25 miles -- 80 laps -- every hour for 24 hours in a Salisbury pool Tuesday night in hopes of raising $30,000.

He told Channel 9 that the mental and physical exhaustion was hard, but it was a small sacrifice.

“My uncle has incredible courage and that’s just been what’s been pushing me through all the training sessions and wanting to do this,” Sever said. “I mean everything that he just influences me to do what I’m doing and he gives me the courage that I have for the swim.”

Wooten now moves with a wheelchair that he controls with his mouth.

He said his nephew’s mission to raise money and awareness about spinal injuries is so touching.

“I love him and I’m so proud of him for thinking of this idea,” Wooten said.

Glow sticks helped Cooper push through overnight and others stopped to lend support.

Trent Theroux suffered a spinal injury 15 years ago and flew in to swim beside him.

“I got out of that wheelchair and I swim for those who can’t,” Theroux said.

A first responder who helped save Wooten’s life even came to encourage Cooper through his swim.

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