That's one of the three things Anthony “Tony” Cato Jr. listed when friend Jennifer Galloway asked him what he really wanted.
“We were just sitting around and talking one day with some other friends,” said Cato. “It's been so long since I've taken a bath.”
Cato, a former University of Nebraska-Lincoln and professional basketball player, was injured when an uninsured drunken driver hit his SUV in 2007. Problems resulting from his injuries have meant he needed to take showers seated in a special chair.
Now, however, “bath” has a check mark on his list.
Workmen showed up last week at his Miller Park home to install a new state-of-the-art tub donated and installed free by Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. of Nashville, Tenn.
At about 8 p.m. last Friday, Cato took his first bath in six-plus years.
After the accident, Cato, now 50, was declared to be quadriplegic. But six years, eight surgeries and intensive physical therapy have allowed him to regain the use of his legs and left arm.
However, the loss of income from his job and lingering medical bills strap the household of Cato and his mother, Rebecca Holbrook.
After Cato put a bath atop his wish list, Galloway took action.
“Jennifer wrote a letter to every tub company she could find” seeking help for Cato, said Danielle Westerman Revelette, marketing manager for Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co.
Only Revelette's firm responded.
“We were so inspired by him,” she said. Morevoer, as a Papillion-La Vista High School alum, she wanted to give “one Husker to another.”
“My company wanted to do this regardless,” she said. “This was the first time we've done this, but we definitely want to continue. It's the right thing to do.”
The name of the company's new program is Safe Step Cares.
When Cato was told a free tub was coming his way, “he said he didn't have many words because he was speechless. He wasn't sure it was real,” Revelette said.
“Now,” said Cato, “I have to work on my other two goals.” They are a new battery for his Apple laptop and a nice vacation.
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