Mike Guynes

Mike Guynes smiles for his mom, Kay, and his dad, Duane, after being asked a question that he answered with big “thumbs up.” Mike, who suffered a traumatic brain injury 35 years ago, turns 50 in July. CHRISTY WHEELAND/COWETA AMERICAN

Turning 50 is a big event in a person’s life. The celebration usually includes a big gathering of friends, family, lots of food and fun.

For Mike Guynes of Coweta, his celebration of the Big 5-0 on July 9 has been downsized to just family, a few close friends and fireworks thanks to an ongoing pandemic.

Guynes suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of 15 while participating in spring drills with his high school football team in Texas. In a split second, his life immediately took a different path. There were difficulties, challenges and miracles along the way.

In a 2015 interview with the Coweta American, Guynes’ mother, Kay, said the family celebrates the blessings Mike brings to the family and others every day.

“Isn’t it sad you have to have a catastrophe sometimes in your life to learn to be thankful for little things, like a box of cookies, a thumbs up or even a smile,” Kay said. “We go through our days and take so many things for granted. When you think you have lost it all and life will never, ever have importance again, you notice that all those little things piled up in a box mean something big – laughter, joy and being together.”

Guynes was in a coma for 11 months and 10 days, during which time doctors said he would never understand the spoken word and would never be able to communicate. He has proven them wrong.

“We think that God left Mike alive and intact between the ears and with a sense of humor,” he mother said. “He was given one-half of a percent chance of living at all, and then one percent to live a year – yet here we are.”

“God had plans for Mike and Mike fulfilled those plans,” she continued. “He’s made his life count and his injury in 1986 called attention to brain injury in sports.”

Fast forward to 2020 and a time where social distancing is commonplace. Kay and Duane Guynes want to celebrate their son and his milestone birthday in a very special way – with cards.

“Mike loves to give and receive cards, and I’m asking people to send him a birthday card. I want to blow his socks off with how many he receives,” Kay said.

To help in this endeavor, please send cards addressed to Mike Guynes, P.O. Box 328, Coweta, Okla., 74429.