Luther College graduate, Chris Norton, returning to Decorah to spread inspirational message

Luther alumnus Chris Norton is returning to Decorah to speak about his new book, "The Seven Longest Yards." He and his wife, Emily Norton, co-authored the book. The couple will be talking about their work at 7 p.m. Monday, July 1 at Carrie Lee Auditorium.

Norton, a first-year student athlete, was injured in a 2010 football game. He saw an opening for a tackle but mistimed his jump and collided with the ball carrier.

"In an instant I lost all feeling and movement from my neck down. I was told I would never be able to move again," said Norton.

Since then he has continued to defy the odds. First at his Luther College commencement ceremony in 2015. With the help of his then fiancé, Emily Summers, Norton walked across the stage to receive his diploma.

"I was incredibly nervous and anxious. However, right from the beginning of the walk, the gym erupted with cheers and applause, which was really encouraging,” said Norton. "Then to conquer one of my biggest goals with the help of Emily, who I was going to spend the rest of my life with and in front of people who have been so supportive like family, friends, and my college community was a moment I'll forever cherish."

The video of that moment has been viewed more than 300 million times. His next big walk came in 2018. After the couple said their wedding vows, Summers helped Norton out of his wheelchair, they sealed the deal with a kiss and walked seven yards down the isle as husband and wife. Norton says it took seven years to prepare for that moment with Summers helping him each day.

Since graduating from Luther College, Norton has dedicated his life to empowering others to overcome their obstacles.

"It was at Luther College that I discovered how compassionate people are and the power of community."

Norton says he has seen far too many people go without necessary therapy equipment and assistance to achieve their recovery goals so he started the Chris Norton Foundation. The non-profit works to help people with spinal cord and neuromuscular disabilities lead their best lives. Norton also speaks across the nation and was named a "2018 Hottest Event Keynote Speaker" by ITA Group.

To register for the July 1 event and reserve a signed copy, visit www.dragonflybooks.com/event/norton.

Luther College is home to more than 2,000 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu

The Seven Longest Yards