DENVER (CBS4) – Nearly two years ago a skiing accident left Leonard Somers without the use of his legs.

“Everything changes,” Somers told CBS4 on Friday.

His 7-year-old Siberian husky, Juneau, has been by his side through it all. In November 2013, the pair had gone back-country skiing on Berthoud Pass when Somers crashed.

His neck landed on an old tree root that was buried in the snow, leaving him unable to move or call for help. Juneau laid on top of him to keep him warm.

“I kept pushing her, saying go get help and she didn’t want to leave,” he said.

Juneau (credit: CBS)

Juneau (credit: CBS)

When they finally heard voices in the distance she did leave and Juneau came back with help.

“She actually ran off and they had a dog with them,” Somers said. “She somehow or another brought the dog back to me.”

The months following that accident were met with even greater challenges for Somers, who remains paralyzed form his chest down. Outside of his continued recovery, he’s now moving away from a place he loves in the mountains.

Leonard Somers (credit: CBS)

Leonard Somers (credit: CBS)

Somers’ sister Carol Banks says they’re trying to help him gain back some of his independence and are looking to purchase a handicapped-accessible van that he can drive, but like everything, it comes with a cost.

“You never think about being in this position,” Banks said. “I try to tell him we have to move forward and we can’t look back.”

Remarkably, Somers has held onto the same hope he had the day he left Craig Hospital.

He owes that to his family and to Juneau, who he says saved his life two years ago and has kept helping him every day since then.

“She’s my best friend,” he said.

On Sunday Aug. 2nd the family is holding a fundraiser at the Buffalo Rose in Golden. The proceeds will go to mounting medical bills and the rest will be used to help Somers get that van.

Additional Resources

Team Leonard & Juneau Fundraiser
August 2nd, 2015
Buffalo Rose
1119 Washington street
Golden, CO 80401

Karen Morfitt Joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around metro Denver. Follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.


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