Chad Burton and Penny Lorenz know all too well that life can change in an instant.
You see, Chad and Penny are reminded every day how life might be different if they had just bucked their seat belt.
"Oh yeah, I mean if I could go back in time I would definitely put my seat belt on," Burton said.
Chad Burton, 37, is one of two people who are involved with the Think First Missouri program. It's based out of the University of Missouri at Columbia and members of the group travel the state talking about how important it is to wear your seat belt.
When we caught up with Lorenz and Burton, they were making their presentation to the student body at Mark Twain High School in Center. Lorenz has been in a wheel chair for the past 30 years and she never thought when she was growing up, that a simple decision of not buckling up would affect her for the rest of her life.
"In my way of thinking, I was a good kid. I made good grades. I was well liked and in my mind bad things didn't happen to good people. Putting a seat belt on, wasn't going far form home, so in my mind you didn't need it. Again bad things don't happen to good people. But in reality, they can and they do," Lorenz said.
As for Burton, he was a sophomore in high school when he crashed his car and wasn't wearing his seat belt. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for a couple of weeks. He had to relearn to walk, to talk and even to swallow. He's now partially paralyzed on the left side of his body.
"Because I can personally relate to them because I was in high school when there are now when I lost everything," Burton said.
Burton may have lost a lot, but one thing he didn't lose was his drive and determination. In fact, during the school assembly Burton showed the student body that he can still tie his shoe. Even if it's with just one hand. A poignant message that radiates how important wearing a seat belt is and how the decision not to buckle up can change your life forever.
Lorenz even went as far as comparing a brain injury to pieces of swiss cheese.
No two pieces are exactly the same, just like each brain injury has its own unique challenges.