Bench Press Fundraiser to Help Paralyzed Veteran

A local body builder is stepping in to help a Lubbock veteran cover his medical expenses. He's disabled after being hurt in Afghanistan, but his friends are determined to get him back on his feet.

Once a picture of health, Michael Vasquez is now facing more than the explosives and terrorists he fought in Afghanistan.

"I was perfectly healthy," said Vasquez. "I loved to work out."

While deployed in 2009, Vasquez suffered a traumatic brain injury.

"I have excruciating headaches and blacking out 10 to 20 times a day,"

A rocket sturck his military vehicle leaving Vasquez paralyzed.

"It changed my life from there," said Vasquez. "I can't do a lot of things and it's a little frustrating.""

Vasquez went through a brain procedure racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, but he said his $3,000 per month disability check is not enough to cover the cost.

As a longtime friend and workout partner, Jennifer Sedia was crushed when she heard the news.

"I was very devestated because he's out there fighting for us," said Sedia. "I couldn't pay for his bill so I prayed and I asked God you know show me a way that I can help him."

As a body builder, Sedia came up with a bench press fundraiser to help cover some of his bills.

"That's what I know that's what I am," said Sedia. "So I said it's a way to get people together, have fun, do what we love to do and then also help Mike."

"God's blessed me with people like Jennifer and friends and people that are supportive of it," said Vasquez. "Especially a lot of my guys from Afghanistan; they're all behind me and helping me as well."

The bench press fundraiser competition will be held Saturday, November 2 at Premier Sportsplex.

The compeititon will begin at 11 am and registration begins at 10 am.

A competitor's entry free is $30 and admission is $6.

All proceeds will go directly to Vasquez's medical expenses.

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