Meet Abram

Hello, my name is Abram Mannix. When I was seven years old, my back started hurting a lot. I would wake up screaming in pain from a developing case of severe scoliosis. It turns out I had a tumor in my spinal cord acting like a lemon seed in a straw. I was rushed to UCSF Children’s Hospital and faced the mountain of an 11-hour surgery. Unfortunately, once they saw how intertwined the tumor was with my spinal cord, the doctors had to slice through some nerves to get out all the tumor. The neurosurgeon told my parents while I was still being stitched up that the nerve readings were not showing activity on one side of my legs and only a brief hint of activity on the other—he said I would likely be paralyzed below the arms. My dad now “knew” the answer to the question I asked on the drive to the hospital, “Am I going to play baseball again?” Sure enough, when I came out of surgery, I couldn’t move below my waist, and I couldn’t feel my right leg. The nerve sensations were so strange that even a cold piece of fruit falling on my bare skin caused a screaming pain!

Thankfully, a few days after the surgery, I wiggled my toe. My mother cried small tears of joy. My father wondered how far a wiggling toe would get me in life. But like a small glimmer of light on a stormy day—it was something. Next, I straightened my knee without assistance. Then, with therapist supervision, I started pulling myself around the hospital halls on my belly on a medical skateboard. After two months of physical therapy, an immense emotional and physical struggle, and a great team, I left the hospital on my own two feet using a walker. Since that time, I have continued to improve, exceeding medical expectations. Last year I had to have another surgery to correct a collapsed arch due to nerve damage in my left foot. I do fall frequently; I lack a bit of balance, feeling, and proprioception, but I am tough, and I don’t let my temporary disabilities keep me back. Instead, I press into the limits of my abilities, like a wild child! I play baseball, and I ride my bike. I swim, and I raise rabbits. Now, I am going to face another big mountain.

My father and I believe that God is asking us to climb on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. I say “climb on” instead of “climb” Mt. Kilimanjaro because while the summit is the goal, it is only the goal if I can continue to go higher—my realistic goal is to climb as high as is physically possible for me to do in this body at this time! In the process, we aim to raise funds for a non-profit organization called Lifewater. Lifewater gives people living in remote areas of Africa access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation practices. We want to raise $330,000. This money will help so many people who have to walk miles every day just to get clean water.

330,000 represents the number of members in our medical sharing ministry (Medishare) when my surgery and rehabilitation occurred. I know that well over $2,000,000 was shared by hard-working people around America to help me live and walk again. I want to symbolically honor (not earn back) that gift by raising a dollar for each person who contributed to help me.

I realize that the odds are stacked against me to reach the summit—I am too young, I fall, my nerves fatigue, and sometimes I overheat because I only sweat on the right side of my face and body. But then again, I wasn’t even supposed to walk, so who knows how high God will carry me? All I know is that while my body may have a limit, I will not limit myself, nor God.

$330,000 is a large but attainable goal. When I needed medical care that cost a lot of money, others contributed to my need. If helping one farm boy walk again was worth that, what are we willing to give to provide clean water to the many who need it?

I am asking you to help me honor those who contributed financially to my medical care by donating money to provide clean and safe water to those in need. In return, I commit to making it as high as my body will take me on Mt. Kilimanjaro in September of 2022. I commit to training for this challenge with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I will give my everything to accomplish what I have been told is impossible, again!