GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WFRV) – Matthew Demeny’s life changed forever when he suffered a bullet wound to the head during a tubing excursion with family and friends this past July.

“I couldn’t walk or anything,” Demeny recalls in an exclusive interview with Local 5 News Anchor Michele McCormack. “I couldn’t talk right. It was weird. It was very scary.”

As fate would have it, a nurse was also at that section of the Little Wolf River in Waupaca County and helped his girlfriend apply pressure on his shattered skull until he was taken by helicopter to the hospital.

“I was very lucky,” he says.

Lucky is an interesting choice of words for a man who had his skull reconstructed with a titanium plate.
Then again, the fact that he’s talking at all is nothing short of remarkable.

“All my family when I woke up the day I woke up, they all looked at me and smiled,” Demeny recalls. “They all said we all knew you were going to be here.”

Demeny is speaking out to offer hope to others who feel like giving up.

“If you don’t give up on yourself, other people won’t give up on you. That’s a simple truth no matter what you want to do.”

Demeny is full of gratitude for the doctors at Theda Clark Hospital who operated on him.

“There was a portion of the skull that was separated from the rest of the skull that went down underneath,” explained Demeny. “They had a hard time getting the pieces out to do the repair and put the plate there. I had swelling and trauma on my brain and bleeding and lacerations. There was a lot for them to look at and deal with but she (his doctor) said if I was willing to fight they were willing to.”

He’s also grateful to the greater community that contributed to a go fund page to pay for his mountain of medical bills. Click here to view the page.

“These people are there. I ain’t much for asking for help. It’s something that’s hard for me to do. But the moment I did it, life got easier. The moment I put my hand out there and somebody grabbed it, it got better.”

Right around September Demeny started running again. He says trying to work out every day was critical for his come back.

“Every day I’d try a little bit,” Demeny said. “As much as I could. Sometimes it was backward because I didn’t have it in me. I’d seen that climb. That’s when it changed. That’s when things changed for me. I kind of knew. You got it.”

Demeny celebrates his 35th birthday on Friday.

Demeny cannot talk about the case because he doesn’t want to jeopardize the trial. He says part of surviving is seeing that justice is served.

The accused remains in custody on a $500,000 cash bond.

Demeny says he was walking along the river and looking for a place to relieve himself when he was struck by the bullet.

The man charged with the attempted homicide and possessing a firearm as a felon is an acquaintance of the family and has a child with one of Demeny’s relatives.

He declined to get into specifics about how this has impacted the greater family dynamic.

He says he wants to focus more on the good in life and appreciating the people who appreciate you.