“I feel blessed. I had a 5% chance of survival, and I’m still here. Every day, I have a choice: I can sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself, or I can learn how to dance when the circumstances in my life are trying to drown out the music.”   Gary Miracle

December 26, 2019 – Rockledge, Florida: Gary had fever and chills. He figured he had caught the flu from one of his children. His wife, Kelly, drove him to nearby Rockledge Regional Medical Center emergency room. After waiting several hours, Gary learned he had a bad case of the flu. Still feeling awful two days later, Gary returned to the emergency room. The staff joked that he just had the ‘man flu.’

On Gary’s fourth trip to the emergency room at 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, he was admitted. He was diagnosed with sepsis, a severe bacterial infection in the bloodstream. The doctor explained to Kelly, “Gary is in septic shock. His organs are beginning to shut down. I’m not sure he’ll make it through the night.”

Gary Miracle, Jr had grown up in Rockledge. In 2000, he graduated from Rockledge High School, where he excelled in football and soccer, and moved to Dallas. A committed Christian, he went to work for Shepherd Ministries, an organization that held weekend conferences for students. The conference band was MercyMe, the group that would later record the world’s the best-selling Christian song of all time, I Can Only Imagine.

A year later, Gary became the merchandise manager for MercyMe. He sold t-shirts, drove the bus and helped set up equipment at concerts. He worked for a decade with MercyMe before tiring of touring. Gary moved back to Rockledge, where he went to work for Kelly Bluebook and led ministries at his church, but he remained close friends with MercyMe band members.

While the Rockledge Medical staff struggled with what to do, Gary’s aunt, a local emergency room nurse, had a prophetic prompting. She called Kelly. “I don’t know why, and I know this sounds strange,” his aunt explained, “but I feel strongly that Gary needs to be transferred to an Orlando hospital and placed on an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine).” Kelly had never heard of ECMO, but the aunt’s words would soon come to pass

Within a few hours, Gary was life-flighted to an Orlando hospital and placed on life support. When Kelly inquired about an ECMO machine, she was told that Gary wasn’t a candidate. However, after his heart flatlined for eight minutes at 7:18 a.m. the following morning, a cardiac surgeon hooked Gary up to an ECMO machine.

Doctors placed Gary in a coma and informed Kelly that he only had a 5% chance of survival. The family gathered to pray. The ECMO supplied oxygenated blood to Gary’s lungs, heart and brain, and other medication helped to raise his blood pressure and shunt his blood to his vital organs. However, his arms and legs received relatively limited blood flow and eventually his limbs were so starved for oxygen that they became necrotic.

While Gary lay in a coma for 10 days, the family had to make the unimaginable decision to allow the doctors to amputate his hands and feet to save his life. The healthy 39-year-old father of four awoke on January 10 a quadruple amputee. Gary spent 107 days in the hospital before being released in April 2020 to begin rehabilitation.

MercyMe was so inspired by Gary’s positive attitude and determination to get his life back that lead singer, Bart Mallard, wrote a song to share his story with the world. Say I Won’t became an instant hit. Gary appears in the song’s music video holding a glass with his arms, putting on his prosthetic legs and learning to walk again. More than seven million people worldwide have viewed the video and been inspired by Gary’s story.

Today, 43-year-old Gary Miracle is living out his last name. He is a walking miracle on a new pair of legs. He’s back to running, coaching his son’s youth football and soccer teams and sharing his story with anyone going through tough times.

Gary’s life was forever changed by a blood infection. There were plenty of times he thought about giving up, but he chose to press on. Because of that, he has had hundreds of opportunities to share his story and to help others walk through difficult seasons in their lives. “If you get a second chance at life,” Gary says, “make it better than the first.”