This article was originally published in Messenger, Summer 1986.
Pakisa Tshimika, whose courageous comeback from a paralyzing auto accident moved thousands, has been named the Distinguished Fresno Pacific College Alumnus for 1986.
While a student at FPC, Pakisa was rendered a quadriplegic in July, 1976 in an auto accident in Oregon. He had no medical insurance and for a time no agency was willing to work with him. Finally, a massive fund drive in Fresno brought him to Community Hospital.
He eventually returned to campus, attending classes in a wheelchair. He graduate from FPC in natural science in 1978, and then earned a master's in public health at Loma Linda University. He returned to his native Zaire in 1980 to head a public health agency.
He has spoken internationally on Third World public health, and his program for the Mennonite Brethren Church of Zaire is considered a model.
Pakisa has never stopped making progress physically, and today has regained use of his hands, and is able to walk with a cane. He plans to attend seminary in Fresno and earn his Ph.D. in public health at UCLA.
Tshimika was honored in abstentia as Distinguished Alumnus at a ceremony April 26.