(CNN) - A severe spinal cord injury changed a St. Louis man's life, but he's proving it did not shake his spirit.
Jesse Cuellar was left paralyzed after falling off a roof three years ago.
Doctors were not sure he'd be able to breathe or speak on his own after his injury.
He always enjoyed painting, but now he creates his masterpieces using his mouth instead of hands at the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis.
Cuellar says he's defying his doctor's expectations.
"I totally showed them up and did everything they told me I couldn't do, except for walking – yet," Cuellar said.
Cuellar was recently accepted to the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Organization.
This comes with a grant that will allow him to continue his work.