Archive for May, 2012

I know that Memorial Day is not really the beginning of summer (we have to wait until June 21 for that!), but for many of us, it does signal the beginning of a season of outdoor activities, cycling, swimming, boating and other fun stuff. While you are outside and enjoying life, please remember to STAY SAFE! As anyone who has had a catastrophic event change their life in an instant, you know how important a few precautions can be.

Wearing seat belts and bicycle helmets, not diving into unfamiliar water depths or even into pools can keep us all safer. While I believe Push to Walk provides an incredibly good program of exercise, health and wellness for people with SCI, paralysis and other neurological conditions, my wish is that we never see a new injury again. But there will continue to be auto accidents, ATV and motorcycle accidents, sporting accidents, etc. But perhaps the ones that can be prevented by education, knowledge and common sense will be decreased as the facts of living with SCI are being brought to the public’s consciousness by a variety of public service announcements, TV shows and awareness campaigns.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, but STAY SAFE!

In honor of Memorial Day, I’d like to remember all those who died serving our country and keeping us safe in other ways. Thanks to all of our service members who continue to serve us both here and abroad. Your dedication and commitment is truly appreciated.


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Hello Everyone!

This past weekend, my husband & I had the distinct privilege of attending our daughter’s “graduate hooding ceremony” at Ithaca College. She doesn’t officially graduate until October, but the school wanted to acknowledge the graduate students and present them with their hoods during commencement weekend. After  a few more weeks of classes and a 12 week rotation this summer, she will officially have her doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Congratulations, Ari!!!

During our dinner with family and friends after the ceremony, we reminisced a bit about “what if” types of scenarios. Without getting too emotional about the BIG question (which then leads to a million other questions) – what if Darren never had a spinal cord injury, would Ari have chosen physical therapy as a career path? We were focusing on the smaller questions, but equally as thought provoking: Ari to Annie (her close friend and classmate) – what if you didn’t choose the elliptical machine next to mine in the gym that day? I ask – what if you didn’t apply to Ithaca College? John brings up the fact that Aly (another close friend and classmate but in OT), according to her grandma, almost left Ithaca because she was so unhappy, then met Ari and Annie and stayed on. What if she did leave? How different would these young women’s lives be today? Would they have met anyway? Is there fate involved?

I can go waaayyy back to meeting my husband, choosing our house in Kinnelon, buying a house at the shore………..the list goes on and on. I wonder about these answers but don’t dwell on them or look at them negatively. I look at them from a positive point of view, and find the happiness, joy and success in past decisions. Sure, I can say at any of those points, if this DIDN’T happen, then _____ (fill in the blank) wouldn’t have happened. But do we know that for sure? Maybe something else would have happened. And maybe that something else could have been worse.

In any case, I look for the positive results, and that is really my message for today. I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life. What if they weren’t in my life? What if I had never met our friends and neighbors who are a constant source of friendship and support? What if I never had the chance to celebrate my children’s successes and accomplishments? Oh, I can’t even imagine!

So go ahead, consider your own “what if” lists. I hope you appreciate all that you are and all that you have, both tangible and intangible. Celebrate the positive and stomp out the negative. Enjoy your day!


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Happy Friday! Today I am digressing from my normal content and can hopefully make a few people smile!

I have to admit I’m not a big fan of comedy. Sure, I find some things and/or people funny, but I don’t go to comedy shows or watch sit-coms. Just not my thing. But I did speak with a famous comedian, Judy Carter, not too long ago. She had been referred to us by our local hospital, Chilton, when she asked if there was an organization who might be interested in having her perform as a tag-along to a benefit she was already booked for locally. She had a family tie to spinal cord injury and paralysis, so it should have been a no-brainer. However, the timing didn’t work out for Push to Walk, and I couldn’t promise an audience, so it never happened. I have kept in touch with her, though, and read her e-mails and newsletters when time allows. I guess since I had spoken to her directly, and felt a connection with her, her words now seem more relevant to me. And especially since she offered to donate her time and talents to Push to Walk, I have a special place for her in my heart.

I had the idea of “Fun Friday” in my head for today’s post, and along came Judy’s e-mail entitled “You Have a Super Power.” The content was perfect, and I am sharing a part of it here. Her Apple ID was stolen by a hacker, and she addressed him/her in a previous e-mail blast that eventually made its way to Apple. Her approach was very funny. They responded and took care of her problem, and that’s how she started off this particular e-mail. But what followed is what I liked, and something I hope I can keep in mind when frustrating things happen. So here’s Judy’s message:

“It dawned on me that that’s the Power of Humor. We funny people have a gift that we shouldn’t save just for the stage.  We have the power to turn any frustrating situation into comedy. After all, isn’t that what stand-up is – complaining in a funny way. I decided to spend the day practicing my new found philosophy.

I went to US Bank to get a copy of my equity line agreement, which I was told would be waiting for me to simply pick it up. But the manager hadn’t a clue where it was and lacked the motivation to find the documents. My frustration was interrupted by a girl who entered the bank lobby yelling, “The ATM took my card. I want it back now! My father knows the president here! I will pull all my money out unless you give me my card! Now!”

I turned to the stressed-out manager and said, “You take care of her and I’ll be right back.” I came back with cookies and said, “I thought you might enjoy these cause it looks like a few of your customers forgot to take their meds.”

She laughed. All of a sudden, my documents that she wasn’t able to find 10 minutes ago, magically appeared with a smile.

I felt the power.

That night I went out to 31 Flavors with my friend. While the young girl was scooping my ice cream I commented, “Your ice cream scooping technique is fabulous. It’s amazing how strong and skillful you are in creating such a perfectly round scoop of ice cream.”

She laughed, proudly showing off her well developed right bicep. My scoop of ice cream was 50% larger than my friend’s.  Again – the power!

My message this week? Don’t be a Drama Queen – be a Comedy Queen. You get more sweet stuff back when you give it out.”

Thank you, Judy Carter, for these words of wisdom! Use “your” power this weekend, and let me know if you have any good stories to share afterwards!

Have a FUN FRIDAY! Cynthia

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Then what is a VIDEO worth?? A million words? More?? Hard to say, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jon Schroder for his interest and time to produce a new video for Push to Walk. When asked by a Board Member to help out, Jon willingly offered his energy, talent and vision to help us tell our story, at no charge. We are so ecstatic that Jon agreed to do this, willing to fit a “pro bono” project into a very busy schedule, and getting nothing in return except a big THANK YOU.

As Jon prepared to interview and film me, our staff and our clients, I could sense his interest in our work, his compassion and just a positive feeling about him being a good person. We have found many “good” people in our 5 + years here at Push to Walk, but Jon said something in our initial meeting that summed up the person he is. He said, in so many words, that a project like this “keeps it real” for him.  I could sense that he has achieved success in his profession and has done some great stuff. But being able to help us tell our story – that was meaningful to him.

Thank you, Jon, for taking an interest in Push to Walk and telling our story and that of two clients who live with the challenges of spinal cord injury every day. Thank you for showing us through your direction your care and compassion for our cause. Your entire demeanor was professional yet sensitive. Your conversations made us feel comfortable. I look forward to seeing a finished product, and am confident that the message will be “real” and moving!

If you’ll be coming to our Wine Tasting event on June 14, the video will be shown there for the first time. Please join us!


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This message is to all mothers, in all walks of life, in every part of the world. It’s especially meant for mothers of children with spinal cord injuries, special needs or any disabilities/challenges. My own son is now 26 years old, and his life is a gift to me every single day. I probably took this for granted before his spinal cord injury. In fact, I’m sure I did.  Now, not one day goes by that I am not grateful for having both him and my daughter in my life. For this, I am thankful.

To all you mothers, cherish your children. Rejoice in their joys and successes; be there with them through difficulties and challenges. Know that you DO make a difference in their lives. Stay strong for yourself and for them. If you don’t take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, you are not the best person you can be for either of you.

I hope you are able to spend at least a little time this Mother’s Day reflecting on your role as a mother, the relationship you have with your child or children, and the impact you have or can have on their lives. If you are a mother to a child with a spinal cord injury, I know the types of challenges you face every day. As we stay strong, so do our children. We are there for them every day, ready to help them when needed, but we must be ready to let them go when they are ready.

Enjoy Mother’s Day and celebrate your self! We mothers keep the world going round……………    Cynthia



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Congratulations to all of our Team Push to Walk members for their participation in this past weekend’s Half and Full Marathon in Long Branch, NJ. They did awesome!! Every member of the Team committed to complete the distance and raise funds for Push to Walk and Dr. Wise Young’s SCI Clinical Trials for a Cure. Our preliminary amount raised was almost $28,000, but we still have to tally the final figures.

Thank you to all 22 people who ran or rode their hand cycles to benefit Push to Walk. One of our clients, Celso, pictured here, was the FIRST person to break the finish line tape. It was his first event, and he is excited to pursue the sport further. When he becomes famous, we can say “it all started at Push to Walk…………” Ha ha!

Current and former clients, client family members and friends, and friends of Push to Walk all joined together for a common goal – to support Push to Walk and provide scholarship funds to people with spinal cord injuries who need our program but are unable to pay the full amount. Our scholarship fund will help offset the cost of the program for some who would not otherwise be able to come for exercise workouts. Financial barriers are often the main reason why people don’t come to Push to Walk, or stop coming after a period of time because their money runs out.

Our runners and riders committed themselves to our cause, and we are so thankful for their interest and dedication. Thank you!!!

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