This is where the staff of the Reeve Foundation is sharing up-to-the-minute information and putting some context around the news affecting the spinal cord injury and paralysis community. Not to mention insight into what's going on here at the Foundation.
Feel free to comment and offer suggestions. We'll respond.
New in the PRC Library…
A Journey of Hope: Life Beyond Injury—Shepherd Center. Atlanta, Ga.: Shock Design Books
This book covers the history of the 35 years since the Shepherd Center opened as a rehab center in the spinal cord injury, brain injury and multiple sclerosis field. It is an upbeat book that features many former patients and discusses their readjustment to life after injury. It is a large coffee-table type of book with beautiful photos. The founders, staff and donors are also featured in this book.
A copy of this book can be checked out from the Paralysis Resource Center’s library. Please see our online catalog and borrowing instructions.
Our newest ambassador, Daniel Hernandez needs your help!
Daniel is a top 20 finalist in the One Man Dallas competition. From their website:
One Man Dallas is a fun, social, and professional event that identifies the one man in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area who represents the best of Dallas from the perspectives of community involvement, personality, intelligence, and fitness. One Man Dallas not only puts the spotlight on 20 guys doing great work in the community, but highlights 20 great community organizations.
He needs your votes from now until Sunday, May 15 in order to be crowned One Man Dallas and to win $5,000 to be shared with the Reeve Foundation.
The online public voting counts for 25% of the finalist's total score. (Daniel is the second one from the left in the second row). Even better, if you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, go meet Daniel at the "Meet the Men" happy hours! Meet Daniel either at Board Room Salon in Inwood Village on Wednesday, May 4 from 6-8pm or at Aloft Hotel in Downtown Dallas on Thursday, May 12 from 6-8 pm.
The winner will be announced on May 19.
More about Daniel.
Learn more about our ambassadors.
Join our community.
(Author's note: This story was inspired by the "The Tanner Hubbs Story," by Saralee Perel
, which I saw on the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation website.)
A moment is simply defined as a very short space of time, or a particular point in time. Moments on their own don’t seem so special, do they? After all they pass as quickly as they come. The time in which you've taken a breath, another has said the words, “I do.” The fleeting second which you use to check your watch, a doctor is calling the time of death for another. In the single moment that it takes for you to gasp, someone else's life had been altered forever.
Everyone can trace a significant life changing event back to just one, only one single particular point in time that they would either "not have any other way" or "they wish they could alter" for they know that the alteration of that single point in time will change everything.
It's not two . . . or three but one, just one moment in which it takes for everything to alter, (seemingly) change the course of things to an extent so devastating that you look back on that catalytic point in time and marvel at how such a little event could alter the course of destiny forever. For some that maybe a decision made rashly without thought, a simple slip of the tongue causing one to say what he does not mean, a simple phone call, an act made to salve your pride but whatever it is . . . we only realize the effects later on.
Think of life like a tapestry. In which the time is represented by the cloth; destiny by the design; and moments by the thread. The simple pulling out of a thread could go so far as to distort the whole image sometimes by only a little that it is barely noticeable and others by so much that you fail to remember what the image looked like before. That is how life is. An entwinement of different threads to create the image which is our destiny.
Life is tapestry.
Olayinka Eno Babalola (pictured)
About the author: Seventeen-year-old poetry and prose writer, Olayinka Eno Babalola, lives in Abuja, Nigeria. She was introduced to us through our regular contributor Saralee Perel. Olayinka asks that you leave an encouraging comment on Tanner Hubbs community facebook page
that his family made for him as a surprise.
The Reeve Foundation's Faces & Places Photo Contest was a success. We recieved all kinds of photos that show our community living life without limits.
Two of these photos are from Kristina Rhoades, Places winner, and Jerry Watkins, grand prize winner. (Their winning photos pictured at right and left).
I tend to get excited over the little things in life, so when I got to call Kristina and Jerry to congratulate them I was quite happy! Here's a little about each of them:
Kristina Rhoades is not like every other 27-year-old. She has been living with a T5, T6 spinal cord injury since she was 10-months-old, but hasn't let that stop her from being active. Kristina's photo shows just that when she decided to try rock climbing in Long Beach in August of 2010.
"My husband is an aspiring photographer and I've loved sports for as long as I can remember," says Kristina. "We pulled up and said, ‘I want to try this,'" explains Kristina. "They took one look at my arms and said, ‘I can see from your arms that you need to pull your own weight,' and I said ‘Okay!'"
Kristina describes reaching the top of the rock wall and ringing the bell as one of the coolest feelings ever.
Get to know Kristina.
Jerry Watkins, age 59, was determined to live his life to the fullest despite an automobile accident in November 2002. Living now with a T3 complete spinal cord injury from someone who hit his car from behind while talking on their cell phone, Jerry simply says, "Hey, I'm alive." He sure is.
Jerry went back to work the day after being discharged from the hospital following the accident.
"I have been working with the company for 32 years," says Jerry of his job in environmental health and safety for a chemical company in Atlanta, Georgia. "There is incredible support and encouragement for me. At first, everyone was falling over to help me. Now, they treat me just like everybody else. It just doesn't get any better than that."
He also took up a favorite pastime of his, umpiring.
Get to know Jerry.
Much congratulations to Kristina, Jerry, and all our finalists. THANK YOU to everyone who entered the contest as well. All the photos were unique and told stories of their own, so thank you for sharing your story!
Join our community.
Events and Workshops
, Resource Center
, Quality of Life
, Team Reeve
, Multicultural Outreach
, Success Stories
, Life Rolls On
, Chapter News
July 7, 1986 started off like any other day in El Campo, Texas -- hot and humid. Chad Waligura, 17 at the time, was hanging out with a friend, enjoying the summer weather. He dove into his friend's swimming pool, banged his head on the incline, and was spinal cord injured. "I just have dumb luck to blame it on," says Waligura in a deep southern accent about his accident, "no drinking, no messing around, nothing."
Although Waligura is living with quadriplegia, he has a lot of movement. "I am what they call a 'super quad,'" says Waligura. "It means for a quad, you're about as strong as you can get." Waligura has strong shoulders, triceps, and wrists, just no grip. "If you didn't know, you would think I was a para," says Waligura using slang for someone living with paraplegia.
Waligura knew that because of his accident, he was going to have to give up some things that he enjoyed, like golf. However, he was determined to not give up on the one thing he loved more than anything else in the world -- hunting. When Waligura was 12, his father first took him into the woods. "To kill an animal is such a small part of hunting," says Waligura. "It's just being out in nature, being close to God, and being with friends."
Learn more about Chad.
Have a story you want to share? Tell us!
Join our community.
Rutgers University has gained a lot of attention since one of its football players, Eric LeGrand, became spinal cord injured on the field back in October. Unfortunately, we often see that once a story hits the news, it slowly becomes forgotten about months later. This surely is not the case with LeGrand.
LeGrand is progressing, smiling, and is living his life. He wants people to see him, not his wheelchair. LeGrand doesn't listen to the doctors, he doesn't pay attention to the limits they put on him. He's not angry either, he's motivated.
LeGrand is continuing his education at Rutgers with plans of being a sports broadcaster. ESPN anyone?
“I always wanted to be a sportscaster,” LeGrand said, flashing a camera-ready smile. “My dream was to play in the NFL, but after that, it’s to be a sportscaster. I’ll probably focus on that after I graduate college.”
Or maybe, he said, he’ll look into coaching. That’s the beauty about being 20, of course. LeGrand has a world of opportunities in front of him, and he isn’t letting his injury stop him.
Read the rest and watch the video.
Join the LeGrand discussion.
Join our community.
"Life is good." That is how this article recently featured on Matt and Tracy Keil ends.
Matt Keil knows people want to pity him. After all, he figures, that's what people do when they see a veteran in a wheelchair.
He knows there are doubts. He knows people have questions. And he knows there are some who will openly wonder if he's ready to become a father.
He thinks about that word "father" for a moment, and then he smiles.
"I think we will take great pleasure in proving those people wrong," he says, as he takes a look at his wife Tracy.
If there were an Olympics for proving people wrong, Matt and Tracy likely would have taken the gold medal years ago. It's the inevitable conclusion, they say, of a strong relationship that was built largely on the back of chaos.
Six weeks after Matt and Tracy were married on a cold and snowy Colorado day in 2007, a sniper's bullet pieced the Army Staff Sergeant's neck while he and other Fort Carson soldiers were on patrol in Iraq. At the time, doctors were quick to tell Tracy it was a "Christopher Reeve-type injury."
The Keil's have grown their family and are finding new ways to enjoy the things they had before.
Where are Matt and Tracy now? (Watch the videos, too).
Learn more about Matt and Tracy.
Join our community.
There are some people in this world that have a way with words, and after reading the latest piece from Reeve Foundation Information Specialist, Donna Lowich, I can certainly say she is one of them. Her story Lessons of the Heart (Pendant) reminds me that the warm feeling of love we get during the holiday season can stick with us all year long.
Stolen. The word made me shudder just to think of it. I had only taken the necklace off because the clasp on the chain needed a little repair, and I thought I might lose it if I wore it that day. Not wanting to take the chance, I took it off and placed it carefully in my dresser drawer. That same day, our next-door neighbor burglarized our house, taking my pendant as well as other pieces of jewelry and money. It seems destined that my cherished pendant would be lost to me.
It was not just any pendant; this was a gift given to me by my son for Mother's Day, a gift paid for with money he earned from his very first job. It was my most prized possession, and now it was gone.
Donna is pictured above (on left) with her sister, Mary Lou.
Find out what happened next.
More from Donna (left column).
Contact an Information Specialist.
Join our community.
The Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national non-profit civil rights organization, and the D.C. Office of Human Rights, an agency of the District of Columbia government that seeks to eradicate discrimination, have launched a new multi-faceted campaign, “what is WRONG with these pictures?”
“One in five people in the United States have a disability, yet there is still a great lack of awareness when it comes to what exactly is accessible and what is not,” explained Leah Maddox, ERC Communications and Outreach Associate. “This campaign is a fun and stimulating forum through which people with and without disabilities can learn more about accessibility.”
The PSA campaign uses the website, www.disabilitygame.org, to create an interactive forum for education. The focus of the site is a game in which users are asked to identify physical barriers in real life situations. The photographs present a range of barriers; both easily recognized ones – such as a step in front of a doorway – and those many may not be so familiar – such as a round doorknob.
Read the rest.
Visit the Equal Rights Center website.
Learn more about the Reeve Foundation's advocacy efforts.
Join our community.
Well the 2011 Road Show program kicked off in Seattle, WA on April, 13th. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to start the year and can’t imagine meeting a nicer group of people.
We had well over one hundred enthusiastic attendees who are as committed to the paralysis and SCI communities as any we’ve met elsewhere in the country. Besides our lead sponsor 180 Medical, we were thrilled to co-host the road show with the newly formed Spinal Cord Injury Association of Washington (SCIAW). Peter Wilderotter, President and CEO of the Reeve Foundation, opened the evening emphasizing our theme for this year's Road Show program, “The Power of We, not Me.” Tami English of Seattle Adaptive Sports, a Quality of Life grant recipient, helped to underscore that point when she discussed their adaptive sports programs and how important the community support is to this and other programs. She encouraged Seattle’s SCI community to get involved in sports, as they offer a wide array of physical activities.
This year’s Road Show describes in detail the Foundation’s programs and how you can get involved. Susan Howley's discussion of the state of the research is still the focal point, however, this year we will also be highlighting other Foundation programs like our:
-2011 Advocacy initiatives
-The Peer and Family Support Program, a national peer-to-peer support program
-The newly expanded Team Reeve – it’s not just athletics anymore!
Everyone in the audience seemed to enjoy the additional information and as usual had lots of questions about the research program and what it means for the community. We are looking forward to building off the momentum we felt during the show and other meetings we had while we were visiting Seattle and look forward to our partnership with the SCIAW.
Keep an eye out for information regarding the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Washington’s Walk and Roll fundraiser in October.
Bill Cawley, Director of Community Programs Development , stated, “We began this program to share information, connect with old friends and supporters, meet new friends and learn what else is happening across the country. I don’t think any of us could have predicted how powerful the face-to-face interactions would be for everyone who has attended, including those of us from the Foundation. Our guests linger well past the “official” end of the event talking, exchanging ideas, resources and making new connections. Consider attending a Road Show- I promise you will not be disappointed.”
Click here to find out if the Reeve Foundation Road Shows will be stopping in your city next!
Join our community.
Monday was the 4th year Team Reeve participated in the Boston Marathon.
The first time all the athletes met was at the pre-race luncheon on Sunday afternoon. Eight runners (only one could not make it to lunch) and 15 friends and family members made it feel like Thanksgiving -- there was a lot of love in the air with everyone telling stories and at the same time a lot of good-hearted chiding around the table.
Race day was sunny and in the high 50s, with a strong tail wind, perfect marathon weather.
The team was made up of four first time marathoners, 3 seasoned vets (one of whom was doing number 16) and John Carson. John (pictured here with Manager of Team Reeve Leigh Alspach) was spinal cord injured when he was hit by an SUV in 2009 while training for a triathlon. This was John's first marathon post injury (having done an Ironman in July of 2010 -- yes you need to read his whole story here.)
Our earliest finisher came in at 3:29 and our final team member, running his first-ever, marathon came in at 5:53. After six months of training, the whole team is now wearing their Boston Marathon medals proudly:
A special thanks to our volunteers at mile 17 led by Jennifer Vitelli.
Please drop by the Team Reeve Boston page to learn more about and support our athletes.
Stay tuned for a full race report, photos, and video interviews. Go Team Reeve Boston!!
Join our community.