Grateful Patient

Discover the inspiring journey of James “Woody” Beckham, a 3rd Generation Miamian who transformed a spinal cord injury into a powerful platform for advocating and supporting the disabled community in Miami.
Words by Anja Maltav | April 26, 2024 | Lifestyle

In 2011, James “Woody” Beckham suffered a severe spinal cord injury while playing rugby for Florida Atlantic University, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down at just 22 years old. After being successfully operated on by Dr. Michael Wang of the world-renowned neurological team at Jackson Memorial Hospital, he began his recovery process. He healed rapidly in ICU and Acute Care, where he was transferred to Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital. Post injury, his spirit never wavered, and continued to live life to the fullest. After graduating from Florida International University, he joined the team at The Center for Independent Living, running programs that served the disabled community. A natural leader, he joined the South Florida Spinal Cord Injury Support Group and served as President for several years. After attending a camp with a focus on quadriplegics, he served in an advisor role. In 2011, The Woody Foundation was launched by family and friends who wanted to do more. Within 10 months, they formed a board, volunteered, hosted a fundraiser, and donated $20,000 to Jackson Health. The Bash Fishing Tournament is now in its 14th year and has donated over $330,000. Every traumatic brain and spinal cord injury patient passing through the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Hospital benefits from donations made by The Woody Foundation;