At the time of his accident, Fernando was happily married to his wife, Michele, and had a baby daughter, Taryn. He was on a successful career trajectory, having just been appointed as Creative Director for ELLE Canada. Michele and Fernando enjoyed traveling. Fernando was very social and quite active, playing ice hockey in a weekly recreation league, mountain-biking and snowboarding on weekends, and enjoying tennis and scuba diving.
Michele and Fernando were on vacation driving from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Taryn was in her car seat in the back of the car and Michele was driving. When Taryn started to cry, they pulled over and Fernando got into the back seat to give her a bottle. He soon fell asleep, and woke to the crushing sensation of impact as they were hit head-on by a large, out-of-control truck.
Fernando sustained a broken neck, rendering him a quadriplegic; at the hospital, a doctor told him he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and never walk again. In time, he learned that the full implications of his spinal cord injury: chronic nerve pain, high muscle spasticity and other related complications.
To be completely independent, Fernando mastered many skills. He learned to drive a car with hand-controls, and tried every sport again. After a couple of years, he resumed his practice of photography, art and freelance graphic design and opened his own business, called FMprints.com. Most importantly, he learned to be a husband and father with no limitations, always being there and doing almost everything an able-bodied person achieves.