The message sprawls out across Pat Moore's back like a beacon of hope — a permanent reminder that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.
'There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.'
Eight months removed from a car accident that left him in a coma for three days, Moore clings to those words tattooed just above his right shoulder blade. They assure him that although he may never be the same again, that doesn't mean he can't move forward.
The truth is, considering the nature of the crash Feb. 21 between the Honda CRV in which Moore was riding as a backseat passenger and the empty school bus traveling westbound on Route 40, he's lucky to simply be alive.
"Back in June, I was reading articles online about surviving near-fatal crashes and ways to deal with them and I came across that quote, which really helped me start putting things in perspective," said Moore, a senior at Marriotts Ridge High School. "It really sums up everything that happened and keeps me focused on the future."
As of this past winter, Moore was certain that future was going to involve a soccer ball.
An athletic and technically gifted goalie, he was one of just two freshmen named to the varsity squad at Marriotts Ridge in 2009. "He was a shot stopper and he was fearless … he didn't play like he was younger than everyone else," Marriotts Ridge soccer coach Kevin Flynn said.
Moore went on to help the program rattle off three consecutive 2A state titles, serving as the team's starter in net for two of them. In Flynn's eyes, Moore had college soccer player written all over him.
That's what made that day in August this past summer so difficult. After meeting with neurology specialist Dr. Kevin Crutchfield, Moore's greatest fears were realized: His soccer career was officially over.
Severe brain trauma as a result of the accident left him too vulnerable for Crutchfield, or any other doctor, to clear him fit enough to return to the field.
"I asked my mom that day if I could get the tattoo on my back … it was something I felt like I needed," Moore said. "Of all the days since (the crash), that was probably the toughest."
'Wake up, wake up'
Nancy Moore was at home in her office when she heard the crash.
Since moving to the Turf Valley Overlook neighborhood seven years ago, she says she's heard roughly a half-dozen accidents at the intersection of Pebble Beach Drive and Route 40, which sits roughly a block away. Something about this one, though, was different.
"It was an odd sound because I didn't hear any screeching of brakes beforehand," she said.
So Moore, who spent nearly two decades as a pediatric nurse, felt the urge to go out for the first time and lend a helping hand. And as she moved closer to the crumpled car sitting in the middle of the road behind the school bus, the gravity of the situation began to set in.
Approaching the passenger side first, she immediately began trying to revive the boy in the front. It wasn't until several moments later, in the midst of the commotion, that she caught her first glimpse of the familiar sweatshirt in the back.
Pushing aside the side curtain airbag, her heart nearly stopped. Lying there unconscious on the back seat was her son, Pat.
"All of a sudden the nurse went out of me and the mom came in," she said. "I was just screaming over and over, 'Wake up, wake up.' "
Moments later Nancy Moore was pulled away, watching helplessly from the side of the road as medical personnel arrived and began attending to the three boys that had all been riding in the CRV. She continually asked for updates, but got nothing.