That's the message from Jeff Belcher, the tennis instructor who was struck down with catastrophic repercussions after an illness in March.
Gratitude is not a response one would expect from a young man, 41, who has lost both hands, his right leg from the knee down, part of his left foot, his livelihood and his way of life.
"God put me in this position for a reason," Jeff said. "I have to look at it in a positive manner."
Jeff, whose family moved to Hudson in 2008, became ill with flu-like symptoms in March. Because he suffered from Grave's disease -- a thyroid disease which compromises the body's immune system -- his condition quickly escalated and he went into a coma which lasted two months.
While he was in a coma at Cleveland Clinic, he had three stomach surgeries and his thyroid was removed.
And by his side, through it all, was his wife of 14 years, Lora.
"They put him on this machine, the ECMO [ExtraCorporeal Membrane Oxygenator] which saved his life," Lora said. "They told me that only 10 percent of the people that have to go on the machine survive."
She also was told that when -- and if -- Jeff came out of the coma, he might not remember her or their two children, Jack, 10, and Kendall, 12.
"The first four or five days when he was coming out of the coma he would look at every one and smile, but he smiled at the nurse the same way he smiled at me," Lora said.
After coming out of the coma, he faced the multiple amputations that were necessary to save his life.
"I had no options," Jeff said. "They were tough decisions, but life is precious."
Jeff and Lora both expressed gratitude for the doctors, nurses and staff at Cleveland Clinic.
"They basically saved my life," Jeff said. "They brought me back from the bad place."
Lora said through it all -- the coma, the multiple operations and the amputations -- she never gave up on her husband.
"As long as he had a chance, I wanted him to have that chance," she said. "I knew he wasn't done. He wasn't finished with his journey."
When asked if he had ever considered just giving up when faced with so many obstacles, Jeff said an emphatic "No."
"At one point I could easily have gone to the dark place, but my kids, my wife, kept me going. I was not wanting to give up. I don't give up easily on anything. You've got to fight for your life. You've gotta do what you gotta do," Jeff said.
He said the trick is overcoming fear.
"I think of it as more of a challenge than fear. I've always been up for a challenge," he said.
The Belchers said their strong faith kept them going along with the community's support. Both the tennis community and the Hudson community reached out and embraced them.
"We have so many helping hands, so many people reaching out to help us. People we know and people we don't know," Jeff said. "Hudson definitely is reaching out as a whole."
Lora said the entire community stepped forward to assist them.
"For four months a group of women and St. Mary Church has provided our meals," Lora said.
Neighbors have helped with the children throughout this entire ordeal, and private monetary contributions have also assisted the Belchers. They have been without income since March with the exception of a fundraiser at Towpath Tennis Center and one in the tennis community in Connecticut where they used to live.
"This is a long road," Lora said. "We could not have gotten this far without the help we have gotten."
And they're grateful to God for leading them to Hudson.
One of their Hudson friends has set up the Jeffrey M. Belcher Benevolent Fund to help the family with its onerous financial burdens. Contributions may be sent to the fund at First Merit Bank, 116 W. Streetsboro St., Suite 13, Hudson.
Jeff is slated to be released from Summa's rehab unit within the next few days and could be allowed to go home. Although a temporary ramp has been set up at their residence, other improvements will be necessary.
"God has provided the rays of sunshine to help us through the darkness and provided the miracle workers that helped us," Lora said.
All decked out in navy blue and white in his wheelchair, wearing his Hudson High School cap, he said, "I'm so proud to be in Hudson. We've been a lot of places, but this is the place we want to be."
And as for the future.
"How can I fear the future when my husband is here?" Lora said looking at her husband. "I don't fear the future at all."
Jeff responded: "If we made it through the last six months we can make it through anything. We're ready for the next chapter," Jeff said.
"Tennis has been our whole life together," she said. "We even met on the tennis court."
"But after 20 years, we're ready for something different," Jeff added.
He said friends have made several suggestions about what he might do in the future such as being a motivational speaker or writing a book about his experience.
"I can relate my personal journey over the last six months and use that energy to motivate others. Use this story as a platform. Just when you think you're in your darkest hour, there is always a way out. I think we all have that capability," Jeff said.
Lora looked at her husband with admiration.
"He's going to inspire. His attitude is one of a kind," she said.
"I'll figure it out," he said with a smile.
Facebook: Dorothy Markulis, Record Publishing