HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) -- It's mobility awareness month, and to celebrate the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is giving away five brand new wheelchair accessible vehicles.
One Topsail High School student is hoping to be a lucky winner!
Just 18 days shy of getting his driver’s license, 16-year-old Walter Bell slipped and hit his head at a friend's pool, paralyzing him from the neck down.
Both father and son remember the accident from last July.
"I knew as soon as I hit my head that something had gone wrong,” Bell said.
"His arms was twitching, and he couldn't feel from the waist and chest,” Bell’s father Walter Bell Jr. said.
"It was immediate pain,” Bell explained. “And then I went to swim to the surface and I couldn't move anything at all."
"He's like I broke my neck. I'm sorry dad, but thank god I'm alive,” Bell’s father said.
Thanks to several months of physical therapy, Bell can move his arms and wrists.
"Every little bit's a blessing,” Bell said.
But Bell says he wants more freedom to move around with a new handicap van.
"With a new van, it would help me to get out, go to church, school, and basically continue to have a normal life to a degree,” Bell explained.
The van they have now is old. It gets bad gas mileage, has no air conditioning, and doesn't always work.
"The van actually flipped me over one time,” Bell said. “It had shorted out and flipped me upside-down inside the van, so we had to call the paramedics to come help me out."
But even through the struggle of learning to live without the use of his legs and fingers, Bell stays positive.
"I would say I'm more optimistic now,” He said.
And while he really wants to win, he says everyone in the competition is deserving of the prize.
"I don't say I'm more deserving than anybody because everyone deserves something, and no one person is better than another, so I'm just hoping that I can get enough votes."
Bell has a little more than 3,000 votes but he needs many more to win.
Click here to vote for Bell. Voting ends May 9.