When I was recuperating 5 years ago after a negligent, drowsy driver hit my bicycle head on and left me with a crushed spine, the staff at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, NJ, tried to teach us not to focus on a cure for paralysis, but rather on living with paralysis.
It seemed unreasonable at the time, but they were right -- I had a pressing need then to learn how to manage in a wheelchair, manage without ever walking again, manage with pain, manage, manage, manage all the challenges of a spinal cord injury.
When the 'cure' comes, you will know, they promised. You won't be left out.
Now that I've managed to learn to live as a paraplegic, this year I'll be rolling in my third 'A Walk to Believe' event to raise funds for the cure. This year's Walk is on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
There is so much exciting research going on that one can't help to feel the optimism. The Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation does many great things both in terms of research and in terms of day-to-day support for those living with paralysis.
It supports promising therapies, the next generation of spinal cord scientists, and perhaps most exciting, 'The Big Idea' -- a campaign to fast track the next phase of epidural stimulation research and work with regulatory authorities to advance this groundbreaking therapy.
My roll at 'A Walk to Believe' also supports the dedicated work of Wise Young, director of the Keck Center at Rutgers and one of the world's outstanding neuroscientists. Dr. Young is committed to bringing treatments to people with spinal cord injuries, and has built and trained at clinical trial centers in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, with new ones coming on-stream in the U.S., Norway, and India.
What an exciting combination of initiatives!
Since my accident, I have met so many people dealing with different degrees of paralysis. One of the first was Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football star who became a quadriplegic in 2010 following a tackle against Army at Giants Stadium. It was his idea to start the 'A Walk to Believe' event.
I do this roll for me and for my customers at LeanOnWe, including Russell, Sean, Bridget, John, Jim, Eli, and Jackie, but also for all suffering from paralysis. We roll so that all of us can have a better quality of life. Hopefully that means standing up and getting out of our chairs one day, but even if not, there are so many other benefits to be gained along the way.
For the last two years, I have been the leading fundraiser for 'A Walk to Believe'. This year, I am upping the ante by doubling my goal to $16,000. I invite you to support my efforts to find a cure for paralysis. Please use the link below to make a pledge.
Pledges are due by Sunday, June 4, 2017. If your company offers matching gifts, please try to take advantage of that to increase the impact of your gift.