A Windsor man now faces a life as a paraplegic, with very expensive medical bills, after a serious skiing accident in Michigan.

Shawn Florence, 24, was severely injured after crashing into a fence on Nov. 26 at the Pine Knob Ski and Snowboard resort in Clarkston, Michigan.

Florence sustained 13 broken ribs, a collapsed lung and permanent damage to his spinal cord.

Florence was rushed to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, where he spent several days in the intensive care unit. After a week, he was moved to Windsor Regional Hospital.

In addition to dealing with his paralysis, Florence is now facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Florence did not have out of country medical insurance, and has yet to receive the bills for his care at the Michigan hospital.

His girlfriend, Tiffany Laporte, has created a GoFundMe page with a goal to raise $150,000.

Florence says the money would help offset medical bills, but Laporte says any support would be great.

“We also do need emotional support,” says Laporte. “Something like this is very hard to go through.”

Florence, his girlfriend and his family say they are trying to remain optimistic as they face a long road of rehabilitation.

Florence was born and raised in Leamington, and has been active in the community, umpiring baseball games in the county.  He graduated from St. Clair College and is a computer science student at the University of Windsor. Florence also works at KelCom in Windsor, where his co-workers are supporting his recovery.

Florence hopes to be able to transfer to Parkwood Institute at St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, a rehab centre that helps spinal injury patients rehabilitate and re-train their bodies.