the life of thore.

i. Thore Jenshus, right, sits in his wheelchair with his daughter, Marita, 3, whom he and his wife, Justine, adopted in China. Jenshus became quadriplegic following a dirt bike accident on August 27, 2009. Since then, he returned to work as soon as he could. "I am never alone," Jenshus said. "I am always working or living with my family."

ii. Justine Jenshus, left, watches as Thore Jenshus, right, does weight-shift exercises in their home. Jenshus must move around periodically, otherwise he will suffer the equivalent of bed sores from sitting in his wheelchair too long without moving his body. Jenshus must perform weight-shift exercises for five minutes every half-hour.

iii. Marita feeds her father potato chips. Marita has been receptive to her father's injury and by helping Jenshus, has taken on more responsibility than most three year olds. At the same time, because Jenshus depends on others, he cannot stay at home by himself with his daughter.

iv. Jenshus shares a plate of beef stew with Marita. Jenshus, who can move his arms but not his fingers, designed custom silverware so they could pivot, making the eating process easier.

v. Justine Jenshus folds towels as Thore Jenshus watches. Since the accident, Jenshus' paralysis has prevented him from taking on everyday activities. Jenshus relies on help, mostly from Justine or a helper, but sometimes from his daughter. Jenshus uses five towels every time he bathes. "Two weeks after he got home," Justine Jenshus said. "You could see his body language of frustration. He wanted to go back to work."

vi. Marita and Thore Jenshus wait for the assistant to help Thore get dressed in the morning.

vii. Anna Dennis, right, a nursing student, helps Jenshus put on his shirt. "The hardest part is depending on someone else," Jenshus said.

viii. Dennis helps Jenshus off his sling and onto his wheelchair. An assistant comes to Jenshus' house every morning. Assistants help him bathe, get dressed and get ready for work. Jenshus said he did not panic after the accident. "Where do I go from here," Jenshus said. "Its not easy by any means. But I know what the alternative is."

ix. Thore Jenshus waits for the lift to take him into his van in his driveway. The Jenshuses plan to go on an Alaskan cruise in June 2011. Still, they intend on bringing an assistant so Justine can have a vacation too.

x. Thore Jenshus and co-worker Tory Schelske look up materials in Jenshus' office in Sturgis. Schelske picks up Jenshus, who is a mechanical engineer, and drives him to work each morning. Jenshus returned to work six months after his accident and two weeks after leaving the rehab hospital in Denver. "I remember meeting people for the first time again," Jenshus said about returning to work after his accident. "It seemed to be more uncomfortable for them than for me. I talked their ears off to break the ice."

these images are © 2011 Rapid City Journal and may not be reprinted or used without permission.

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