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DENVER -- Fifteen years after a Denver hero lost his left eye while rushing to save his neighbor, he was the one who needed help.
His story struck a chord with Denver7 Gives viewers, who donated generously to help him get his life back.
To say 2020 has been rough for Akio Clark would be an understatement.
"I was broke down and busted," Clark said.
For 15 years, he has been struggling to overcome what happened to him when he stepped in to help a neighbor.
"Stopping a rape, he got stabbed three times and lost his eye," said Lisa Huffman, another long-time neighbor who said Clark is always helping her and others. "He doesn't complain ever."
Denver police honored him as a neighborhood hero then, but Clark's view of the world changed forever.
"This right here was a life sentence," he said, pointing to his left eye. "And it's hard to stay positive about that type stuff."
His mother, Dolores Clark, reached out to Denver7 Gives because her son needed a new prosthetic and new glasses.
"Back then, he was an RTD driver, had a bright future. He lost it all," she said. "And things have not been the same for him since. He couldn't even think about himself because he's so busy being in survival mode."
When Clark lost his eye, he came to Denver Optic Company for his original prosthetic. General Manager Ted Johnson said most prosthetics are replaced every fives years, so Clark's was a decade overdue.
Denver7 Gives viewers answered the call. With a discount from Denver Optic Company, their generous donations bought Clark a new prosthetic eye. We also took Clark shopping for a new pair of glasses with specialized lenses after his were damaged.
"I'm required to have glasses to drive," said Clark, trying on new frames. "Driving is my passion, I just want to be able to do my job and be able to see."
His job is his roadside assistance company, but in 2020, his car was broken in, and his tools were stolen.
With a discount from Car Toys and donations from Denver7 Gives viewers, Denver7 bought Clark a car alarm and a $1,000 gift card to Home Depot to replace his generator and tools.
"I'm just thankful to God there was good people that watched 7News and paid attention to my story and dug in their pockets for me," said Clark, who plans to use the GoFundMe account money that doubled after the story aired to help grow his business and support himself.
"That's my dream. We'll see. Keep me in your prayers. We still got a ways to go."
Denver7 has created an easy way for people to help others in our community. We have featured the stories of people who need help and now you help them with a cash donation through Denver7 Gives. One hundred percent of contributions to the fund will be used to help people in our local community.