Jared’s Story

The setting couldn’t have been more beautiful. As Jared Dunten sat in the hot springs on the edge of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, he luxuriated in his first vacation away from his copywriter job at GSD&M. He stood and dove into the river.

But he didn’t come back up. On his dive, he’d hit a rock.

After a harrowing few minutes, a friend managed to get Jared’s head above the water so he could breathe. But the C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck were broken, and he was 90 miles from the nearest medical facility.

Eventually, they managed to summon park rangers, and Jared was transported to the small town of Alpine, then to the ICU in Lubbock where he stayed for one month. He was paralyzed from the neck down and suffering from pneumonia. The doctors gave him little hope for recovery.

After another six months in a Houston rehabilitation hospital, Jared was finally able to return home to Austin. Armed with an unwavering determination to get life back to normal, Jared was set on returning to work.

And DREAM Fund made his plans possible. The foundation provided a van, specially modified for Jared’s wheelchair, to transport him to and from the agency. It meant the difference between many more months of being stranded at home and a return to his job at GSD&M.

“It was a breath of fresh air. When it seemed everything else took forever, DREAM Fund got the van very quickly,” Jared says.

“It was pretty much ready for me when I got home. DREAM Fund and my agency were both great and really came through for me.”

Jared is now married with two beautiful children and has begun painting. Jared is an amazing artist and an inspiration to all. To learn more about Jared and his paintings, please visit the Dunten Studios website.