By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A life-threatening brain injury changed a Minnesota man’s life forever, but it wasn’t enough to slow him down. Now, eight years later, he is being honored for proving that the impossible is possible.

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Back in 2003, the snowmobile accident almost claimed Joe Kopp’s life. He was wearing a helmet, but still suffered a traumatic brain injury. He spent two weeks in a coma and 56 days in inpatient rehab.

Kopp, who is a husband and father, went from being a business owner to learning how to walk and talk all over again. His wife, Marcia, and son, Spencer, documented his difficult journey.

Not far into his rehab, Kopp had a realization.

“You’re not going to get back to the way you use to be. If that’s not the case, find a different path,” Kopp said. “Giving up is not an option — not for me anyhow.”

Kopp was determined to get his mind and body back up and moving. Knowing he would have to live with a disability, he chose to concentrate on the things he could do.

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“Make sure you have something to do, to look forward to. Challenge yourself,” Kopp said.

For Kopp, his inspiration is his wife of 19 years and his son. With their help, his next goal is to walk a marathon, which is 26.2 miles, inside the Rosedale Mall.

His story has inspired others and encouraged the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota to name him their 2011 Profile of Hope Recipient.

“There is always hope and possibility as long as you have goals,” said Kopp.

Joe hopes his walking helps others to believe, inspire and achieve.

Anyone can support Joe by walking a mile with him Saturday at 8 a.m. in the Rosedale mall.

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For more information on the event and other ways to support Joe, or the other 100,000 Minnesotans living with brain injuries, click here.

Reg Chapman