TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Avi Davidson as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Davidson, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will divide the money among his charities of choice, Tampa Jewish Family Services, Chai Lifeline, Gift of Life and Chabad.
Just 18 years old, Davidson’s attitude of pure optimism has propelled him to serve others with compassion. Despite suffering from paralysis, Davidson continues to volunteer hours at Tampa Jewish Family Services, acting as a mentor to fellow teenagers and adults, serving as a leader in the congregation’s youth group and holding numerous positions in both local and regional Jewish youth organizations.
The dramatic accident that severely injured Davidson over two years ago has only been incentive for him to be more active in the community and to better serve others. In the fall of 2009, Davidson was taking photographs of the sunset and didn’t realize until too late that the pole he had climbed from which to shoot pictures was an electric pole. The fall from the pole left him with second and third degree burns over the majority of his body plus the loss of his dominant hand, while also paralyzing him from the waist down. Even after coming out of a coma and spending months in the hospital, Davidson’s attitude was one characterized by gratitude for another chance at life. He is committed to living a full and meaningful life and firmly believes his second chance will not be wasted. He is determined to leave his mark on his community.
This summer, Davidson had the opportunity to attend a summer camp in New York, Camp Simcha Special, where he inspired and motivated hundreds of youth as he spoke about his injury, recovery and unwavering faith. Davidson also recently started volunteering at the Tampa Veterans' Administration, focusing on the needs of those with spinal cord injuries. He has been a supportive volunteer at the “A-Package-from-Home” program and other programs supporting the military. In October 2011, and in commemoration of his second year of survival, Davidson co-managed a Tampa Bay Bone Marrow testing drive with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation for those suffering life-threatening illnesses. He is currently working to complete his high school education at Gaither High School, where he is an honors student.