For Mark Raymond, Jr. it was just another day on the water with friends.
But a split-second decision to dive off the back of that boat and into the water changed his life forever.
"I fractured the C5 vertebrae in my neck and it caused a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from the chest down," Raymond said.
In the year that followed that accident, Raymond fell into a deep depression.
"Dealing with that anxiety, the isolation and depression were all the perfect storm for the downward spiral of my life is not meaningful, I don't know why I'm still alive, god why did you leave me here?" Raymond said. "You start having suicidal ideations. It took me a year to get off of that spiral. I had great support, I had the family, the friends, the therapists, access to stuff, and I wasn't in a nursing home. It was still...ugh..."
Through the darkness Raymond was able to find some purpose.
"I realized how under resourced the disabled community was in the state of Louisiana, and I wanted to do something about it."
"I realized how under resourced the disabled community was in the state of Louisiana, and I wanted to do something about it," Raymond said. "It was a hard situation in the beginning for me, mainly because I was isolated and didn't have a community to lean on. We wanted to create that for others going through similar situations."
Raymond took that split-second that lead to his injury and transformed it into the Split-Second Foundation.
"To date we opened the first fitness facility in the gulf south for people who have gone through a neurological condition or amputation," Raymond said. "Now we are incorporating mental health services, resource navigation, case management to get people connected with as much support as possible in the immediacy after accident like that to make that process more efficient and get them back to the best quality of life as soon as possible."
Today, Raymond serves on several federal, state, and local boards and commissions. He represents and advocates for people with disabilities and promotes safe boating and swimming across the state.
"My life is a testament that anybody's life can change in a split second and everyday somebody's does."
"My life is a testament that anybody's life can change in a split second and everyday somebody's does," Raymond said. "Now we just try and prevent as many accidents as we can as well as provide those who have gone through something with support and solutions."
While split-second decision can change anyone's life in an instant, it is how you handle that change, Raymond said, that makes you who you are in the future.