Looking back over all these years, Danny Mayer has really lived his life between accidents, always accepting them for what they were — broken bones, crushed legs, 63 major surgeries — and then getting back at it with whatever modifications it took to keep going.
It’s no different now, some eight months removed from his most recent accident in May 2020 that had him life-flighted from near his home in Salmon, Idaho to Missoula, Montana to treat a broken femur, torn ligaments, crushed foot, broken ribs and a right leg that he needed to fight to keep.
The fight over his right leg — the last one remaining after his left was amputated from a previous accident — ended back in August. It was both a tibia and fibula break, and Mayer said one bone was healing and the other wasn’t. In the end the infection and resulting pain were too much to keep the fight up.
“It’s no biggie because I couldn’t use ‘em anyway,” he said. “But come to find out it’s really tough to deal with no legs at all.”
Beyond the physical ramifications of that most recent accident — which most folks other than Mayer might not have come out the other side of — a big issue facing both him and his wife, Cathy, were the expenses. Mayer said the orthopedic surgeon wouldn’t take his insurance, and the cost of his life flight wasn’t covered either. Add into that the relatively new van that was lost to the accident, and the financial hole to climb out of might have rivaled the physical one.
That’s where friends stepped into help. The longtime Jackson resident, most known in the sporting world for his tenure as the Voice of the Broncs (which finally came to an end in 2018), learned just how valued he was by the friends he has on this side of the pass after that accident. Sean Shockley, a longtime pal and former Broncs girls basketball coach, Melissa Fox, Allie Mayer and Matt Elliot among others, started a GoFundMe for Danny’s expenses shortly after the accident. Within 36 hours the fundraising goal of $15,000 had been met. It continued to climb, now showing $27,215 raised from that fundraiser alone. Add in a benefit by the Blue Collar Restaurant Group, which Danny said netted over $8,000, along with a slew of get well cards and private donations from friends, and the Mayers ended up somewhere in the neighborhood of $55,000 toward his medical burden.
For that, Mayer wrote a thank you note to his friends and the Jackson community at large for keeping him going when some of those closest to him weren’t sure he was going to pull this one out.
My wife Cathy and I would like to thank the people of Jackson for their concern, thoughtfulness, and their generosity. First off a big thank you to Sean Shockley and his family, Jeff Parrott and his family and Melissa Fox. Our sons Tony and wife Ali, Mike and wife Amy and girls.
A great big thank you to the Joe Rice family, Nicole and Blaine Woodfin, Ellie and Brooke. My very good friends Jeff and Linda Van de Burg and Billy and Joyce May. Two guys I began first grade with in the old school across from the Elks Club.
Just the idea of $15,000 raised in 36 hours was amazing. Cathy and I were brought to tears.
And a large thank you to the many athletics I watched, the families who traveled the roads of Wyoming and listened to my ramblings so faithfully.
Words just don't seem enough but
THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.
— Danny and Cathy Mayer
The Mayers had settled into their home in Salmon, Idaho, a place they both fell in love with, but will soon be moving back to Wyoming to be closer to their sons. Despite only being without that right leg for two months, Mayer said he’s been able to adapt well enough. But there was a situation recently where he fell out of his chair, jamming up his previously broken ribs on the concrete. Cathy, he said with a chuckle, was running around the neighborhood looking for “three guys large enough to pick me up and put me back in my chair … without that leg, I’m like picking up a 200 pound garbage can.”
So the Mayers will be moving closer to their sons, who both live in Star Valley.
“It’s within a couple miles of both boys, and then they can come pick me up off the ground with whatever wrecks I’ve had,” he said.
Despite the balance issues he’s dealing with, Mayer insists life is largely getting back to normal. He said he split and stacked three cords of wood not so long ago, in an effort to get his upper body strength back. He and Cathy have been burning through that wood all winter.
And boy is Mayer happy to have those arms still. Not that there’ve been similar issues up top, but the surgeon who took his right leg back in August was the same guy who took his left leg years ago.
“The same guy who took the left leg off on the the left side took the leg off on the right side,” he said. “So I told him all I’ve got left is my arms, and I’d hate to have you take them too.”