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Hello everyone & happy Friday!

We are so excited that Giving Tuesday was a success for Push to Walk! It was our first foray into this now nationwide trend, and what a great idea it was to participate. Thank you to our staff members Stephanie and Anthony for coordinating the effort; for our trainers, aides and board members for jumping in, and to those who either commented or donated as a result. What a great team effort – THANK YOU! I know I enjoyed showing everyone that even I can do push-ups! We have a tough crowd in our Push to Walk gym everyday to compete with, so I was glad to do my part! Check out our Facebook page to see all of our fun videos!

I learned yesterday that one of our matching gift employers committed to matching 150% of employee donations made on Giving Tuesday, so that is awesome! It is great to see Corporate America continuing their philanthropic efforts and participating in this “new” event to help non-profit organizations.

With the donations we receive at the end of the year, and all year long, you can be sure we are using these contributions to help so many people with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, MS and stroke to live more independently, live a higher quality of life and participate in their communities. While clients do pay for their workouts, even those fees are not enough to cover our operating expenses. We pride ourselves on operating as efficiently as possible to keep all costs reasonable and scrutinize every expense, including administrative salaries. When you support Push to Walk, you are directly helping our clients, investing in their futures. If you’d like to make a donation, click here.

Thank you, and enjoy the weekend!  Cynthia

Feeling Thankful

Hello Everyone,

There is so much I am thankful for this Thanksgiving and every day:

My family, friends and the safe and supportive community of Kinnelon in which I live;

Our Push to Walk family of board members, volunteers, interns, donors, friends and the community of Riverdale in which we reside;

A special shout -out to our Push to Walk staff: Anthony, Chris, Cory, Christine, Hope, Isaak, Jackie, Josh, Juan, Kendra, Matt, Nick,

Sandra, Stephanie, Tiffany, and Tommy. All of you give of yourselves every single day to help our clients improve their lives, and I am so proud and thankful to have each one of you as part of our Push to Walk family. I know you are passionate about your work and this is not just a “job” to any of you;

A second special shout-out to our clients who put their trust in us for every single workout. Your dedication and commitment to working hard and making progress is obvious in each push on the Total Gym, every exercise on the mat, each step that is taken and more that is accomplished every day. Thank you for choosing Push to Walk to help you in your journey.

From our family to yours – I wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

Cynthia

Another Journey

You know that saying, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” well I am embarking on another journey – another half marathon! I am joining Team Push to Walk in the Long Branch Half Marathon on Sunday, April 26, 2015. Join me on “Templeton’s Team – Push to Run” and help me raise awareness and funds for Push to Walk!

I will be running each of the 13.1 miles for someone with a spinal cord injury, brain injury or MS. If you would like to join my team in either person or spirit, and help even more people, please let me know! As soon as I have my site up to organize everything online, I will put out the info.

WHO’S IN????

Cynthia

Happy Wednesday!

I am SO happy to tell you that I have FINALLY completed all of the topics on my list to share with you in our Family Corner section of our website. While this information has been 10 years in the making, I do hope it is relevant and helpful to anyone going through the experience of sustaining a spinal cord injury – whether it is the person themselves, friends, family, loved ones, etc. Some of these topics required me to think back and re-live certain situations I would rather forget. Others enabled me to review what we had been through and try to provide others with information and knowledge. Most of them brought on powerful emotions which are usually just beneath the surface of my (hopefully) cool, calm and collected self. Many people I have met on this journey have told me how helpful my writings have been to them. Together with the emails in the “One Family’s Personal Story” section , I hope I have provided a glimpse into our lives that lets you know you are not alone. There are others that understand; there are others struggling with the same kind of challenges. One Mom told me that when she reached the end of my emails, she was hoping there was more. When she had read them all, she went back to the beginning and read them again. Re-reading them later, as she was dealing with changes in her daughter’s situation, she gleaned different things from them than the first time around.

While I generally find writing of this sort to be a healing process and a healthy outlet, it can also be emotionally draining. It’s not easy to re-live all the details of the early days, weeks and months. But in doing so, I hope I can help others, and that is a reward greater than the task. If I can help you with anything related to spinal cord injury that you or a loved one is going through, please email me at ctempleton@pushtowalknj.org. It’s all about helping one another, and paying it forward.

Cynthia

I’ve just posted a new topic on Push to Walk’s Family Corner section of our website (click here) that talks about resuming activities and starting new ones after a spinal cord injury. Now that it’s been 10 years since Darren’s injury, he has tried a lot of different things. Some sports and activities had to be modified from how he did them prior to his injury; others were brand new to him. He’s liked some – skiing and wheelchair rugby, for example; and not others (at least not so much) – tennis for one. But he tries new and different things, and that is the important part.

I know I tend to stay in my “comfort zone” when it comes to physical activities and challenges. Setting a goal of completing half and full marathons was difficult on many levels, but not what you would call a risk. At least my feet were touching the ground! Leaving that comfort zone to try new things can be scary. Trying adaptive sports that require modified equipment, helpers, lots of extra time and patience is not always easy – either physically or mentally. But those that do try sometimes find a new outlet for energy, competitiveness, camaraderie and socialization.

I hope you’ll read my website section and maybe you’ll want to try something new or encourage a loved one to do something new – whether it’s sports, art, yoga, or skydiving! Whatever you do, have fun out there!

Cynthia

Kunming China July 2014

Darren & I spent 5 days recently at the Kunming Tongren Hospital in Kunming, China to check out their “Walking Program.” The idea was to see what the program is all about, and meet the Doctors and other people participating in the program. Darren is between jobs at the moment (his own choice) and wants to dedicate a period of time to intensive exercise. After researching this option and speaking to Dr. Wise Young, he thought this was a viable idea for concentrating on rehab and exercise.

Dr. Young put us in touch with the Hospital and Emma, their English speaking coordinator (thank goodness for Emma’s assistance!) helped us make arrangements. From arranging to stay at the hospital for the week, getting transportation to and from the airport, providing documents for our Visas and more, Emma was a great help!

With great anticipation and months of planning, we left the US on Friday, July 25. With a slight delay in Beijing and arriving to find they have no transfer or aisle chair in the Kunming airport (ugh), and then a very interesting ambulance ride to the hospital, we arrived late on Saturday night. One of the other patient’s father, Eric, was anxious to meet us, and welcomed us to Kunming! Eric was able to give us a lot of helpful information that evening, and it was great to know someone (especially someone who spoke English!) right away.

While I have many stories and experiences to share about our 5 days in Kunming, I will stick to the Walking Program itself for this blogpost. I’ll write more in future posts, I promise!

Patients in the program go to the gym for 6 hours each day. It reminded me of traditional physical therapy here in the states, with therapists working with multiple patients at one time. I couldn’t really figure out a “schedule” of who did what and when, and with what trainer/therapist, but it seemed to flow rather seamlessly. The term “organized chaos” comes to mind, but it was not chaotic in any sense. Perhaps there was a plan that I didn’t know of. But no one seemed to know, or really mind, for that matter.  On their own, people were doing OT type of hand exercises for fine motor skills using pegs and boards, would use a Vitaglide machine or ride one of the MotoMed bikes. Mat exercises were sometimes done independently, or with an assistant, therapist or family member/caregiver. I also observed many patients receiving acupuncture throughout the day.

There were also people walking with the high walkers pictured here.

Kunming Tongren Hospital

Kunming Tongren Hospital

For some patients, this is the most labor intensive exercise, although there were some people walking on their own with just a family member following behind with the wheelchair. These independent walkers did a lot more walking than those needing multiple helpers.

The gym was set up in a U shaped design, overlooking the floor below and with ample windows and natural light. The walking area was very wide and had a smooth linoleum type floor. The walkers are very basic and a variety of hand grips, leg straps and knee braces are used. The actual amount of walking that a person does during the day varies, but seemed to be about 2 hours total, at the most, for anyone needing assistance. That was broken up into multiple sessions.

Granted, it is very labor intensive and demanding on the staff members to assist with walking the way they perform it. But we really thought more walking was taking place each day. According to some of the patients we met, it seems like more walking took place previously, but not lately due to decreased staffing. This was disappointing to us, as Darren was really looking for an intense walking program.

Our week in Kunming was enjoyable and informative. We were really glad we went to see for ourselves what the program actually is. We met some incredibly smart, friendly and entertaining people, which made the week fun. Thanks to David and Eric Wishart for providing us with delicious meals and entertainment during our visit! In summary, Darren feels he can set up a program at Push to Walk that gives him the benefits he is looking for. I will write more on that in the future, as well as some other stories and experiences from our trip. Stay tuned for details!

Push to Walk’s 3rd Annual Summer Boot Camp is NEXT WEEK! Events start Sunday, July 13 – Saturday, July 19. Come and join the fun!

Please check out the calendar of events HERE.

We offer a variety of events, vendors, products, education, information and FUN for everyone!

The idea behind Summer Boot Camp is to bring current clients, prospective clients, friends, family and YOU, the general public, together!

Some events are held on site at Push to Walk, 6 North Corporate Drive, Riverdale, NJ and some are at other nearby locations. All the details are listed on the calendar linked above.

This is a great way for our clients to meet one another while participating in fun, sporting and social events, to learn from each other, to learn about new products and services and to meet Push to Walk friends and donors. Please join us for our Opening Event, an Ice Cream Social on Sunday, July 13 at 4 pm with Guest Speaker Dan Monzo, Team USA Paralympic Snowboarder. Other activities include seated yoga, adaptive tennis and trivia night. We will attend Dr. Wise Young’s Open House at Rutgers on Thursday, July 17, as well as host our own Open Houses for visitors and vendors on Tuesday and Thursday.

This is a great way to see Push to Walk in action, and HAVE SOME FUN!

Please register for events by calling 862-200-5848 or emailing Stephanie at slajam@pushtowalknj.org.

Thanks, and hope to see you next week!

Cynthia

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