Archive for March, 2012

Last night, Sunday March 25, my husband & I went to Bardi’s (www.bardisgrill.com) in Pequannock, NJ for an Open Mic night with Vince Genella and The Business (www.vincegenella.net). It was an awesome night of music, jammin’ and listening to some really talented musicians. We sat close and could see just how much these musicians love to play! From an amazing 9 year old drummer to a young male trio, a female duo, and other people as well, the quality, energy and talent were wonderful! (In addition to Vince and his band, too!)

It is obvious that ShamRock (www.shamrockschoolofmusic.com) has found its niche in providing quality instructors for local kids. Their musical talents are really something to see and hear! Congratulations to Randy Shamber and his team for all of their accomplishments!

To go along with ShamRock’s interest in their community, they have offered to sponsor Push to Walk’s upcoming Wine Tasting on June 14. We are very grateful for their support, and look forward to their involvement in promoting our event! As Randy says, “if it involves music, please include us!” Please be on the lookout for the details, and you can register online at www.pushtowalknj.org. All proceeds will be used to help people with spinal cord injuries live a higher quality of life by regaining strength, function and independence through an intensive exercise program. Make plans with friends to join us for an evening of Wine Tasting, hosted by Gary’s Wine & Markeplace (www.garyswine.com) and great live music! Hope to see you there!


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March 23, 1986 – a day I’ll never forget! I am guessing most mothers remember the births of their children with an amazing amount of clarity. It IS a life changing event, especially the birth of the first child, so that should not be surprising. But every year, I think about the events of that day (and the night before as well) and it seems so hard to believe it happened 26 years ago! Wow!

I often stray from my self-prescribed topics of blog posts for Push to Walk, but today I am going to tie in triumphs and successes to one of my favorite people in the whole entire world – my son, Darren. Today he is 26 years old, and I am going to do what every mother loves to do – brag about their children.

Darren was always the strong, silent type. He was not rambuctious, running around crazy or loud. He was thoughtful, sensitive and caring. He is still all of those things and more. After sustaining his spinal cord injury at age 18, we shared many hugs and tears, more than one would ever imagine. We have also shared smiles and laughter, along with more hugs and tears of the happy kind. I think this has all brought us closer. But the fact remains that he is 26, wants to be independent, on his own and making his own decisions. As with most moms of young adult children, we let them find their way, make mistakes, offer guidance and then hold our breath as we watch them conquer the world.  Sometimes they trip and fall, but we are not always there to catch them. They (hopefully!) figure it all out.

Darren lived on campus three of his four years of undergraduate school. He then moved back home while getting his Master’s Degree. Almost simultaneously, he graduated, got a full time job and moved into his own apartment. I thought it was too many new things to do all at once. Can’t you get settled in your job before you move out, I asked. Don’t you want to enjoy a little time off before you start working for the rest of your life? Don’t you want to live at home and save some money? All of the answers, of course, were no. He had a plan and he followed it.

All of those things happened about 9 months ago. And all of those things seem to be going well. I say “seem,” because I am not privy to all the details of his life anymore. He is private and keeps some things to himself. I respect that. I’m curious, yes! But he tells me what he wants, and I guess what he thinks I need to know. I have to accept that. And that is OK.

So for today, I am trumpeting about Darren’s successes and triumphs. He is doing what so many other 26 year olds want and should be doing. Don’t get the wrong idea – every day is not a happy one, for either of us. We have our down days, our sad days, our frustrating days. The days I still want to scream and yell – Why Darren? Why me? Why us? Why ALL of us in the world of spinal cord injuries? There are no answers, no solutions, except to look deep inside ourselves and listen to our hearts. Acknowledge the hurt, but also the joy. Accept what is today, and hope for a better tomorrow. Recognize the weakness, but concentrate on strength. And, as much as possible, stay positive.

As I reflect on Darren’s 26 years of life, I celebrate all that he is, who he is and how he lives his life. I am so proud to be his Mom, and I wish him the BEST birthday ever.

Thank you for reading these words from my heart.  I am grateful to have the opporuntiy to write and share my feelings. I hope you enjoy sharing them with me.


P.S. Celebrate Darren’s birthday by registering TODAY for Push to Walk’s Poker Tournament on March 31. The price goes up $25 at midnight tonight!!

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It seems like we’ve skipped winter, and now the weather in the northeast is as warm as summer. Not sure what Mother Nature is up to, but I am happy that Spring is here! Enjoy this beautiful weather!

Call me crazy, but one thing I love about sunshine and warm weather – it makes me want to clean! Yep, clean! I guess I’ll always have some of my Mom in me; she was crazy about cleaning, too. But she had rants and rages over cleaning; I prefer the calm enjoyment of actually getting things clean and the good feeling I have afterwards. It’s very satisfying.

To me, spring cleaning is more than just eliminating the dust and cobwebs from the physical space around you. It is also mental. Spring clean your mind, too! Get rid of negative and unproductive thoughts. Release tension and hard feelings. Let go of grudges or bad experiences. Think positive! This is a good time to start thinking about your goals, dreams and aspirations. Go for it!

A great person who writes and speaks about these kinds of topics is Scott Chesney, a person I mentioned recently in another blog post. Talk about positive! This guy LIVES positively every second of every day. (Well, I’m sure he has his “down” days like the rest of us, but he IS a motivational speaker!) I am so excited that Scott will be joining Push to Walk for our Summer Camp, July 15-21. He’ll be speaking on both the 15th to “open” the Camp, and again on the 21st during our adaptive sports day to “close” our week-long event. Stay tuned for more details!

Think about what “spring cleaning” can mean for you and your everyday life. Start small and work toward your larger goals. Clean out those cobwebs and live a happy life!

Happy Spring! Cynthia

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I am happy to say we have our first Flip Video Camera back with some footage! Yay! We will be posting some of the clips soon, but I wanted to mention how tricky it really is for people who use wheelchairs to get around, especially in a city. In the suburbs, it is mostly getting in and out of cars, parking spaces, and accessible entrances that prove difficult. In the city, it’s sidewalks, curb cuts, potholes, vehicles and more.

One of our Push to Walk clients filmed an ice cream truck blocking a curb cut and making it difficult to cross the street in his wheelchair. While most of us like to see the ice cream truck – brings to mind summer fun, warm temperatures and a good mood – one blocking accessibility is frustrating and upsetting. Sure, it’s a little thing for those of us who are able-bodied, but when you’re using a wheelchair, even partially blocking an accessible curb cut can bring big problems.

If we could all have a little (or a lot!) more regard for what people using wheelchairs have to deal with on a regular basis, it might make a BIG difference. Think about it next time you are out and about, and see what improvements you can make in your own behavior or help someone else understand how they can help, too. Ignorance is not an excuse for bad behavior, but sometimes it is up to us to point it out and provide some education.

If you have any stories to add to this topic, please let me know. I’d love to share them!


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I’m not Irish, but I still like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Why? Why not! I’m not a beer drinker, so it’s not for the green beer. I don’t even own many green clothes. But, hey, a holiday brings out the fun on an otherwise ordinary day. Green cupcakes (did I miss them today at Push to Walk? I was out for some dental surgery. Ugh!), green cookies, corned beef and cabbage – those are the things I love! How fun!

In my family we are all huge Devils fans (the hockey variety), and tomorrow they have a “retro” day where the team will wear their old green and red jerseys for the afternoon game. To help celebrate, my husband bought us some very cool green jerseys to wear for the game. Another fun thing to do! I would take a picture of myself in mine, but after my dental procedure, I’m not feeling like posting a picture of myself. Maybe my husband will post the picture he has when he reads this!

So maybe too many holidays have become all commercialized and lose sight of the real meaning. I understand the origins are based on Christianity and celebrating one’s Irish heritage, and the parades are usually fantastic. As long as the drinking can be done safely and without incident, it seems to me that there’s no harm if all of us are Irish for just one day!

Enjoy the wearin’ of the green and all that Irish culture has contributed to our society. Have a Happy St. Patty’s Day!


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A new idea for Push to Walk this year is a SUMMER CAMP that will be held July 15-21. Save the dates! We hope you’ll join us!

If you are a current client, former client, prospective client or just want to check us out – here is your BIG opportunity!

The focus will be on an intensive week of workouts in our gym (offered at discounted hourly rates), open houses for equipment demos and Q&A sessions, social activities like a pizza and music night and an ice cream social, a quad rugby demonstration, guest speakers and an adaptive sports day.

One speaker already confirmed that we are very excited about – Scott Chesney! Check out his website at www.scottchesney.com. Scott is a dynamic, energetic and motivating speaker who is sure to get you thinking about your life and reaching your goals.

An adaptive sports day will be held on Saturday, July 21 at a local park. With help from our friends at Helen Hayes Hospital, we hope to have kayaks and hand cycles for people to try. There’s also a possibility we’ll have sport chairs for softball and rugby, too.

Although primarily intended for people with spinal cord injuries and paralysis, we would welcome participants with other disabilities and those who are able-bodied, too, for the non-workout activities.

Details are still being finalized, but please e-mail us and let us know if you’re interested. Applications are required, so don’t wait until the last minute to contact us! Participation is limited – don’t be left out!

Call 862-200-5848 for more info or e-mail Stephanie: slajam@pushtowalknj.org

We hope to hear from you SOON!

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I can’t pass up this opportunity to wish my wonderful husband a VERY Happy Birthday! I hope it is a wonderful day!

We’ll be celebrating by having dinner at Havana Central in NYC, then going to BB King’s for Boyd Melson’s boxing match. This will be a tough fight for Boyd (8-0 now) but we are confident that his training and experience will help him win. Go, Boyd! We’ll be cheering you on!

Boyd is an extremely caring and compassionate person, donating ALL of his winnings to date to Dr. Wise Young and Clinical Trials for spinal cord injury. He is literally “fighting for a cure.” I’ll be sure to let you know in a future blog post how he did tonight. Or you can check his website: www.teamfighttowalk.com.

Enjoy the day, Cynthia

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Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you all had a good weekend!

Here’s an idea I hope you’ll consider: switch your electric and/or gas supplier to Viridian. There are no tricks or gimmicks, no fees, no strings attached. You might think – this is too good to be true, but it’s really very simple. The deregulation of energy has allowed customers the opportunity to choose their electricity supplier. Your utility company will still deliver the same reliable energy you’ve always had and service your needs, as well as provide you with the same, simple bill. Switch your energy supplier today in just minutes! It really is very easy and very quick! You just need your bills for electric and gas, and this link: http://www.viridian.com/PushtoWalk/default.aspx. Click on the top right “Become a Customer” icon. (Butler Electric customers are not eligible because they are already a reseller, but other electric companies and gas accounts with PSE&G or JCP&L are).

When you switch your accounts, Push to Walk receives an initial contribution of $2.00. Then each month, you’ll realize the savings and Push to Walk receives a contribution. Every month! We are trying to sign up 50 people in the month of March – will you help?? I’ve switched my accounts, and it’s an easy way to contribute AND save money at the same time! I hope you’ll join us! “Every little push goes a long way………..”



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Happy Friday!

So not all of my posts have to do with spinal cord injury – I hope that’s OK with all of you! While I can go and on about Push to Walk, provide what I hope is helpful information and pass along interesting links, sometimes I just feel the urge to write about totally unrelated topics. However, when I eventually think through an idea, I usually do find some way to tie it into spinal cord injuries and Push to Walk. We’ll see how this one goes…….

I loved to read to my two children when they were young. I am happy to say that we spent many hours snuggled together on the couch or one of their beds reading together. We all loved the books that had beautiful, colorful drawings, and good or funny stories. Rhyming always helped, too! I loved Dr. Seuss books and many had underlying messages that are good even for adults.

Books like “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” is perfect for recent graduates, “The Lorax” (making its movie debut today) is, according to Wikipedia,  “commonly recognized as a fable concerning industrialized society and the danger it poses to nature, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler (whose face is never shown in any of the story’s illustrations or in the television special) and the environment as The Lorax.” While deeper meanings can be found in some of his work, I also enjoyed “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat” just as much for their rhyming, their silliness and the fun creatures.

One of his quotes seems to resonate with me today, as I reflect on Push to Walk and our accomplishments in the past 5 years: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Well, we have a lot of people who do care an awful lot, for they have been generous and involved with helping people with spinal cord injuries in so many different ways. Together, we are doing our part to help things and people “get better.” Perhaps we can reflect on Dr. Seuss’ birthday (he would have been 108 today!), and celebrate by adding a little fun and a little silliness to our day and our upcoming weekend. And maybe we can all add a bit of caring a “whole awful lot” to someone or something in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Have a good weekend! Cynthia

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