Sequim grad recovering from fall, continuing filmmaker path

Luke Silliman, the 2017 Sequim grad who fell from a Chicago bridge in mid-October, is out of the hospital and already continuing classes to pursue a career in filmmaking.

The 18-year-old said he’s in good spirits after the fall on Oct. 14.

“I’m just so lucky. I could have died,” he said. “I’m so lucky and blessed to have a full recovery in sight.”

Silliman fell backwards while sitting on a handrail about 30 feet near his school, Columbia College Chicago. He broke his right thigh bone and hip, right rib, pelvis in two places, sacrum, his tailbone, and the No. 5 lumbar in his lower back and spent 12 days at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago where he’s had two surgeries including 12 screws, two rods and a titanium plate (to fuse his back where the spine and pelvis broke) placed into his body.

He had to celebrate his 18th birthday in the hospital, but he was released soon thereafter.

Silliman said doctors thought he’d need two weeks of inpatient rehab but “as I healed up they realized I wouldn’t need it.”

Last week, Silliman, a freshman studying Cinema arts and Television, finished his first full week of classes since falling from the bridge.

Silliman said his professors have been understanding of his situation and he remains focused on becoming a filmmaker. Because of the accident, he was forced to drop out of a cinema class, but he intends to make it up next semester.

Back home, Silliman started his path to becoming a filmmaker competing in the Sequim Education Foundation’s Student Film Festival and last spring he won first place and the audience award for his and Emma Gallaher’s film “Welcome to Life.”

So far, Silliman said he’s been doing well adjusting to life in a wheelchair as his dorms are accessible for them.

“It’s weird not standing around and I’m not as independent as I want to be,” he said.

Doctors told him he can’t put weight on his right leg for now either if he tries to stand.

Family set a $10,000 goal on the fundraising site Gofundme and have received more than $4,700 as of Nov. 6.

“I’m super thankful and so grateful for everyone who has donated,” he said.

Silliman said donations will continue to help with his medical expenses including doctor appointments and physical therapy.

If he’s planning to use his experience for a future cinematic project, Silliman said he’s unsure.

“I’m sure the challenges I face and what builds my character will seep its way into the films I make,” he said.

For more information on Luke Silliman’s medical support page, visit https://www.gofundme.com/luke-silliman039s-recovery.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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