A traumatic experience nearly 10 years ago provided Sawyer Stevens with his calling in life. Last weekend during halftime of the Big Ten Football Championship in Indianapolis, he drew one step closure to realizing his dream, reports Valley News Live in Fargo, North Dakota.
Stevens won the $100,000 grand prize in the Dr. Pepper Challenge, which times two contestants to see which one can sink more footballs in large bins that resemble soda cans. Stevens was selected to participate because of how he said he would spend the winnings.
He wants to become a pediatric neurosurgeon.
That calling came in the weeks and months after surviving the Lakeview, Minnesota, school bus crash that occurred in February 2008, when a woman in a minivan slammed into the side of the bus. Four students were killed, including Sawyer’s brother Reed.
“My brother was my best friend in the entire world. And losing him is something that alone is really crippling,” Stevens told Valley News Live.
Stevens was also seriously hurt in the crash, dislocating his hip and suffering painful nerve damage. He remained in the hospital for weeks, but drew inspiration from his doctors. He knew he wanted to one day be just like them.
His family also suffered not only from Reed’s death and the lingering effects of Sawyer’s injuries but also financially.