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Archive for February, 2012

Happy Friday!

A video has been making it’s way around the net about Josh Dueck, a skier who has just performed a back-flip. If you don’t know his story, you might say “what’s the big deal?” Extreme sports have become more mainstream and the X Games were just on TV a few weeks ago. Skiers were doing all sorts of crazy stuff! But Josh’s story is a “little” different.

Josh is an accomplished skier who nailed a back flip on a sit-ski. Yes, a sit-ski. I have watched this video a few times now, and must admit I have mixed emotions. As a mother of a son with a spinal cord injury, I cringed at the idea. Always a “worrier,” I couldn’t even watch Darren play quad rugby at first (now I love it!). I think about the “what ifs.” As a skier myself, I have absolutely NO IDEA how people accomplish jumps, flips, spins and the likes. I am happy to have my two skis on the snow at all times. Just the idea of being airborne would send me right into the lodge! Being the mother of two expert skiers, I know the urge was always there to “push the envelope” as they got better and better.

But now I watch Josh Dueck doing what he loves – skiing, screaming down mountains, taking jumps and flying thru the air. How wonderful to see him doing what he has always dreamed of. Yes, he is using a sit-ski, but does it really matter? What this has reminded me of is that people who sustain spinal cord injuries are still the same person they were before their injury. A quiet, shy person is still quiet and shy. Using a wheelchair doesn’t make him or her a new, outgoing personality ready to work a room. A loud, aggressive person who was annoying is still annoying now. And a daring, adventurous athlete is still willing to take risks, go beyond the limits and see what can be accomplished.

For this, I love Josh Dueck. I love seeing that he is still pursuing his dreams and “going for it.” I love seeing that he has a support team willing to help him reach his goals. And I love that he is sharing his accomplishments.

Perhaps in a future blog post, I will touch on what we DON’T see in the video – what it takes to practice and train for such a demanding sport, the challenges of the clothing, the weather, the equipment, getting to and from the mountains…………… so much we might all take for granted, but is certainly not easy for an athlete with a disability.

For now, enjoy the videos for all they have to offer – and all they have to show us what determination and dreams can mean.

A shorter video about the back-flip:  http://youtu.be/4xjUUf_sK84 and a longer video (which I totally enjoyed) about Josh’s “story”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/08/josh-dueck-sit-ski-backflip_n_1263159.html (this is a longer video is lower on the page).

Happy viewing, and let me know what YOU think!

Cynthia

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Check this out! We now have our VERY OWN Push to Walk bracelets! We had these made to help us celebrate our 5th Anniversary, and we’ll be doing some fun videos, photos and client stories as well. You might say we are jumping on the bandwagon, since every organization or cause seems to have these (or does that really mean that we’ve missed the bandwagon??) But I see kids and adults with arms full of these things! Well, here’s ONE more cause to add to your arm!

We’ll be selling these for $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00. Let us know how many you’d like! 🙂

Help support Push to Walk and our clients with spinal cord injuries and paralysis who are working hard to regain strength, function and independence!

Help us make a difference!

Help Spread the Word!

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After a busy weekend, and one that included a HUGE Super Bowl win for the Giants and two great wins for the Devils, I have to admit I’m not feeling very inspired or creative for my blog this morning. So this title refers to me as much as others! I had to sit and write this entry, so the “just do it” motto applies to all of us at one time or another! And while it might seem cliche or overused, the simple slogan really has some merit and applies to SO many people and situations.

I checked some of my regular sites for inspiration, and it didn’t take me long to find something on the Reeve Foundation website. I read about a woman (Saralee Perel) who wrote how she was inspired to do one small thing which had big consequences and positive results.  The old movie “City Slicker” encouraged her to do just one thing, keep it simple, and take charge. You can read her story at http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.mtKZKgMWKwG/b.7958339/k.6979/The_First_Step_is_Not_About_Walking.htm.

Saralee’s writing reminded me of a relatively new client we have at Push to Walk. A young man of thirty-something, he came to us two years after sustaining a spinal cord injury from a motorcycle accident. Depressed, frustrated, angry and upset are some of the words he has used to describe himself. Now coming for regular exercise workouts, he is starting to feel better both physically and emotionally. His fragile sense of self is still challenged every day, but little by little, he is starting to have more good days than bad. With a strong family to support him, he is starting to engage more in life. He has joined Team Walk to Push for the upcoming NJ Marathon, and has undertaken a fund raising campaign to help himself, Push to Walk, and Dr. Wise Young’s Clinical Trials for an SCI cure. Having a goal that is outside the borders of always being focused on yourself is a huge step after sustaining a spinal cord injury. I commend this person for making the decision to come to Push to Walk, see what we have to offer and throwing himself into an effort to make himself feel better, in several different ways.

Sometimes, the idea of “just do it,” sounds too big, too scary, too overwhelming. What have you been putting off? Start small, think positive and you will be amazed by the results!

Enjoy your day! Cynthia

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I always find it amazing to read about technology – what already exists, what is newly developed and what is on the horizon – for people with various disabilities. Of course, I am more interested in products that help people with spinal cord injury and paralysis, but it is mind boggling to follow what some of the leading institutions and researchers are working on.

Several efforts are well underway in producing an “exoskeleton” that will enable people with paralysis to walk. I am anxious to learn more about both eLegs and Re-Walk, and hopefully see them in action with actual people. There is also a group from Duke University heading up the Walk Again Project, which sounds very exciting.

These kinds of technology really tie in well with what we do at Push to Walk, because our goal is to help people regain strength, function and independence. Having core strength is crucial to a person who wants to be upright, either in a standing frame, on their own, or with the use of an exoskeleton. If a person does not have the strength and endurance to be upright, even the best technology is not going to help him/her. We feel that we provide that important piece to the puzzle.

I am grateful to all the brilliant minds who have made this area a focus of their research and work. Thank you to those individuals, companies and universities who are dedicating themselves to this cause! Here are a few links so you can check them out yourselves:

Duke University – http://www.walkagainproject.org/

eLegs – www.eksobionics.com

ReWalk – http://rewalk.us/

If you search on the names, you will find information, photos and videos that are sure to amaze you! If you are someone who has tried any of these devices, please let me know what you think. If you are aware of other technologies (not only walking but assistive technology of any sort) that might be helpful to learn about and pass along, please let me know! At Push to Walk, we are always interested in learning more about new and helpful information!

Thanks! Cynthia

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I am so excited to introduce Stephanie Lajam, our new Communications and Special Events Coordinator at Push to Walk.

Stephanie first interned with us in the Summer of 2009, when she was a student at The College of New Jersey. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies in May 2010. During Stephanie’s internship, she wrote several client bios for our website, and was involved in many of our writing and communication projects at that time. She worked very well with our staff and clients, and I was pleased to hire her part time when Push to Walk transitioned to a new fund raising software towards the end of 2010. Having her work with me and learn the ins and outs of the new software was great, and I hoped I could hire her full time when the time was right.

That opportunity came at the beginning of 2012, and she has jumped in whole heartedly to work on all of our communications and special events. From handling social media to traditional communications, and all aspects of our fund raisers, events and software, Stephanie is a hard worker and very conscientious about the quality of her work. She also exhibits great compassion for our clients and our cause, so it is a pleasure having her part of our Push to Walk team!

Please welcome her to our family!  Cynthia

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