Clint's Story

Clint Coleman’s passions define his life. As Chief Development Officer for California Pizza Kitchen, he traveled widely, bringing the chain’s “polished casual” dining experience to life. Outside work, he is an avid golfer, exercise buff and guitarist.

In October 2016, at age 52, Clint’s world changed in a heartbeat. His aorta dissected. Clint survived this frequently fatal condition, enduring a 14-hour surgery at a UCLA Health hospital. Later, a stroke temporarily paralyzed his right side. Complications caused skin on his feet and right hand to begin dying.

Clint and his medical team tried to save them, working through months of high-pressure oxygen therapy and other options. After four opinions – and a month of quiet reflection in the California desert – he checked himself back into UCLA to have both feet amputated. A second surgery removed his fingertips.

A week later, on Valentine’s Day, he came through the doors of the California Rehabilitation Institute.

“I had no direction (for what life looked like as an amputee,)” Clint said. “I had no road map. They gave me a plan to get back to my life.”

Within 48 hours, he was receiving strength-building physical therapy. Doctors connected him with prosthetists who fit his new feet. Occupational therapists taught him to wrap his legs and shower safely.

As discharge loomed, Clint knew: the annual California Pizza Kitchen operator conference was coming up. Could he make it?

He did. Two months later, following another short stint at California Rehabilitation Institute to train on his prosthetics, Clint returned to work full-time.

These days, Clint is still pouring himself into his passions. He’s down to one crutch. He’s working on breaking 80 on the golf course and re-learning to play his guitar.