Tamara Lalanne / Courtesy Photo

Manufacturing engineering freshman Evan Lalanne fell 30 feet from the top of Bishop Peak in December, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

But that didn’t stop his positive attitude.

Lalanne sustained spinal and neck injuries from the fall. He is in ongoing physical and occupational therapy at home in Arroyo Grande.

To help pay for Lalanne’s short and long-term medical expenses, a dinner and auction fundraiser will be held at the Alex Madonna Expo Center April 22 at 5 p.m. The event will also benefit the Southwest Spinal Cord Injury Fund. It will be hosted by Help Hope Live, a nonprofit that provides fundraising assistance to transplant and catastrophic injury patients, according to the event flyer

There will be a social hour at 5 p.m. followed by cocktails and dinner at 6 p.m. The auction will feature items donated by local people and businesses with large prizes like trips to Hawaii and Arizona. There will also be live music by the Paisley Brothers, Lalanne’s best
friend’s dad’s band.

After his fall in December, Lalanne underwent multiple surgeries at Stanford Medical Center to straighten and stabilize his spine and to remove bone fragments pressing on his spinal cord, according to a GoFundMe page made to help cover medical costs.

Lalanne was then transferred to Santa Clara Valley Medical Rehab facility where doctors worked to heal his broken ribs, C-spine and sternum and to begin his physical therapy.

The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) categorizes spinal injuries on an impairment scale ranging in letters from A to E: A means the injury is complete, with no motor or sensory function. E means motor and sensory function are normal. Lalanne’s injuries have been classified in the ASIA A category, which is the most severe.

“Naturally, recovering to a point where I could walk is very, very unlikely,” Lalanne said.

Despite his injuries, Lalanne continued recovery with a positive attitude, hanging out with friends and living with as much freedom as anyone else.

“I’m back to doing everything on my own,” Lalanne said. “Ninety-five percent of my life is just the same as it was before. It’s not as big of a change as you would imagine.”

To Lalanne, living a happy life is all in the mindset of choosing positivity.

“You can kind of take it two ways,” Lalanne said. “You can either pity yourself or just move on with life and keep going. All the support from everyone in our community and my friends and family has been super amazing and another way to keep me positive.”

Lalanne plans to return to Cal Poly in the fall to continue his manufacturing engineering degree.

“That’s kind of the last step to being done with this little chunk out of my life where I was diverted,” Lalanne said. “That will be the final straw to returning to things just as they were before.”

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