The Edwards Family
Fullerton, California

Facing and Embracing Challenges
by Mark Edwards, Fullerton, California

Before my injury, I was pretty active. I was a cyclist, hiker, runner, golfer — I did a lot of outdoor activities. When I woke up with chest pain, I didn’t think it was going to be as serious as it turned out to be. But I was diagnosed with a blood clot that compressed my spinal cord and caused paralysis.

My family and friends were an amazing support system. Our neighbors all stepped up and even brought us dinners — everyone that supported me was how I got through it in the beginning. They were the ones that helped me realize that I’m more than who I thought I was and not to define myself by the ability to run or walk.

Having our daughters, Kate and Audrey, was when everything went to a different level. Before my injury, I was a pedestrian cook at best. I made a lot of prepackaged meals or would grill something every once and awhile but nothing that I was proud of: I ate to survive. But I had always wanted to become a better cook and we wanted to make sure that the girls were eating right. So I started flipping through cooking magazines and thought, “I’m going to try these recipes.”

Cooking is therapeutic for me. Even though I have to do things a bit differently, I forget about my injury while I’m in the kitchen. And it became a way to be competitive with myself again. Having lost the ability to run and hike, I was always looking for challenges. My new challenge was in the kitchen: I wanted to make a meal I had never prepared before, not just for the family, but for the neighbors, the same neighbors that supported me earlier. I wanted to return the favor.

Mark on
Cooking

Mark on
Cooking

I forget about my injury while I’m in the kitchen. It became a way to be competitive with myself again.

Challenging Limits

I love cooking because we need to eat, so why not eat well? Not only do I wake up thinking about food, but sometimes as I’m lying in bed, I’ll think about the next meal that I want to make: who I want to prepare it for, what I’m going to make, what ingredients I need to get from the grocery store. I plan it out in my mind. I want to keep taking new risks with meals. My biggest fear now is having it not turn out and having to call in for pizza.

I started hand cycling a couple of years ago. When I’m out riding, it’s not the same as riding with my legs, but I’ve become competitive again. And now I’m training for a full distance triathlon. It’s a challenge that I wanted to give myself. One of the things that I want is for the girls to see that there really should be no limits to what you can do and that your biggest obstacle is usually your own doubts and fears.

There really should be no limits to what you can do and that your biggest obstacle is usually your own doubts and fears.

In the kitchen, I love the challenge of making a dish that I’ve never made before and seeing the faces on the girls when they try something for the first time. It’s nice to see other people appreciate something that you do.

I lost the use of two legs but now I have two beautiful daughters. It’s not easy, but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.

In the Edwards’ kitchen

The Edwards have enjoyed their GE Appliances for many years. While the products in their kitchen are no longer available, similar current products are shown below.

GE Profile™ Series 30″ Built-in Single Convection Wall Oven

GE Profile™ Series 30″ Built-in Single Convection Wall Oven

See Wall Oven

GE Profile™ Series 36″ Built-in Gas Cooktop

GE Profile™ Series 36″ Built-in Gas Cooktop

See Cooktop

GE Profile™ Series 36″ High Performance Range Hood

GE Profile™ Series 36″ High Performance Range Hood

See Hood