When Wendy Wilson spoke out about her dispute with the apartment complex where her son, former OU football player Corey Wilson, used to live, she didn't expect much. What she got was a response from the community that she said she "never dreamed of."
"Everyone wants to know how they can help," said Wilson, whose son was a Sooner wide receiver before a February 2009 car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. "We're so grateful for the response. Oklahoma people are second to none."
After the accident, Corey's family verbally notified the apartment complex, Twin Creek Village, that he would move out, but failed to provide a required written notice. Due to the lack of written notification, apartment officials charged the family $2,300 for the remainder of the lease, something Corey's mother said that shouldn't have happened because of the extenuating circumstances.
Based on the response from the community, Wendy decided to create a fund for her son at Bank of America. Those interested in contributing to the fund can do so at any Bank of America location by asking for "The Corey Wilson Fund."
Wendy said she wants to use the money to pay Corey's medical bills.
"I don't want to benefit from this, I just want to pay the bills — that's all I'm looking for," she said. "We have hospital bills, bills from all the other care he's gotten, and his medication always has a co-pay. If there's any left over after that, the apartment complex is the last on the list.
"Right now we're just trying to put one foot in front of the other."
On Feb. 27, 2009, Corey was traveling southbound on I-35 near Paul's Valley when his SUV collided with a pickup and rolled off the highway, throwing him 45 feet. He spent a week in intensive care as part of more than a month-long stay at OU Medical Center.
Corey has a wheelchair-accessible apartment in Norman, but his family's home in Carrollton, Texas, isn't made to accommodate his needs.
"He can't get into the bathroom in his wheelchair," Wendy said. "It's gut-wrenching to know he has to pull himself on the floor from the wheelchair to the toilet, from the toilet to the shower."
But thanks to a donation from the Bob Stoops Foundation, Wendy hopes to make life easier for her son while he's at home.
"The main bathroom will be modified so he can get his wheelchair in there to use the shower and brush his teeth," she said. "We haven't told him, but hopefully it will be done when he comes home in the fall and he'll be surprised. I'm excited about that."
Corey has his own plans for his future.
"I want to start a foundation to help people who are put into the same situation I was," he said. "I was blessed to be in a situation where I had help from coach Stoops and my teammates, but not everyone is that lucky. It would mean everything to me to be able to help someone else put into this situation."
Corey said setting up the fund is nothing compared to what his mother has done for him since the accident.
"She's been there for me and provided for everything I need," he said. "It (the fund) means a lot to me, but not more than having a family that supports me."