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Archive for December, 2012

Dear Friends,

As 2012 comes to a close, I am looking back on a year filled with many memorable events: some happy, some sad; some positive, some negative. I guess the same is true for any given year, and probably any given person. Of course, most present in my mind are the most recent occurrences of Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Each was so different, but the profound effects of the loss of life, especially children, seems way more overwhelming than the destruction of property. I also know there were lives lost in Sandy as well, and I do not mean to diminish those losses by any means. They are real and profound as well. Sadness seems to engulf us from one month to the next, and for those directly and even indirectly affected, healing will take a very long time.

As I reflect on 2012, despite sadness and losses, I try to dwell on the positive. In reviewing the year’s events, I hope I learn about myself and how I handled various situations. What could I have done or said differently that could have made a difference? Did I treat everyone as I would want to be treated myself?  Did I live my days of 2012 in the best way possible? Was I the best person I could have been? These are questions I can only answer myself.

As I prepare for 2013, I want to think about all the questions I asked above and plan for a better year ahead. I am proud of my personal accomplishments and for those associated with Push to Walk. But of course, there is so much more we all want to do in the year ahead! As a staff and organization, we are committed to expanding our program, serving more clients and seeing more progress. We have come all this way because of our friends and supporters, and together, we look to a bright and successful 2013.

Happy holidays to everyone, and have a wonderful New Year! Thanks for being a part of this wonderful journey we are all on together.

Sincerely, Cynthia

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Happy Wednesday!

We are in the final countdown of days to Christmas, and perhaps some of you are planning to travel around the holidays. Air travel IS possible for people who use wheelchairs, and I would encourage you to not shy away from flying places that you might want to go to. Whether to visit family or friends, take a vacation or even a business trip, some advance planning and preparation are key to a succesful and enjoyable experience.

First, make sure you specify your needs when making your initial plans with the airline.

Second, allow PLENTY of time for all parts of the process: arrive early and allow extra time for going through security and getting to the gate. If you need assistance curbside, let the airline personnel know what you need. Once you’re at the gate, make sure the gate agents know you need an aisle chair or assistance. You’ll probably be the first passenger to board, so be ready!

Third, make sure you take all removable parts of your wheelchair onto the plane with you, and your seating cushion if you will use that on the plane. Make sure your chair is tagged and marked properly for any special care that needs to be taken. This is especially important for power chairs.

Fourth, always allow for delays! Make sure you have extra supplies for cathing and know how you will handle a situation if it arises. Delays are inevitable these days (or so it seems!), so being prepared is essential.

Finally, when you arrive at your destination, check your chair throughly to make sure it is not damaged, all parts are accounted for and it is safe to use. Don’t transfer into it until you are sure it is safe! If it is damaged, take pictures and document what has happened, and file a claim.

Air travel can be troublesome for everyone to some extent, and with added challenges of accessibility, accomodations, wheelchairs and extra supplies needed, you do need to plan accordingly if you have a disability of any sort that requires special attention. There was a story in the news recently about a 12 year old girl who uses a wheelchair being treated unfairly by the TSA. It happens, and it’s awful. My son was, I believe, unfairly targeted when flying out of Denver airport several years ago, and the commotion they caused and the way he was treated probably violated his rights as a person and a passenger. It’s a difficult situation, though, and while you may not deserve the treatment the TSA seems intent on imposing on you, it’s a very helpless feeling to be at their mercy. Try to document anything that seems ufair, and get names and badge numbers for follow-up later on.

I hope you enjoy traveling and go many wonderful places! Using a wheelchair may present additional challenges, but I hope they don’t prevent you from going anywhere you want to go!

A recent edition of Life in Action (Sept-Oct 2012) has some wonderful information on various travel activities and tips. Check it out!   http://www.spinalcord.org/getting-there/

Happy and safe travels! Cynthia

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Happy Friday Everyone!

Riding my exercise bike this morning, I was watching the news as usual and was so happy to see a story about a flash mob that gathered in a store parking lot to collect money for a family in need. It just spoke volumes about how generous people really are, and how collectively, we can all make a difference to others. Reminds me of the old favorite “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which I watched for the very first time just last year! I loved that story – who doesn’t?

So along those lines of spreading the Christmas spirit and being thankful for all those who have helped me, my family and Push to Walk, I would now like to mention other people and organizations who are near and dear to my heart and share how thankful I am to them:

Bob Parker and NewBridge (www.newbridge.org), a local non profit which helps bring balance to people’s lives through counseling, housing and education for children, adults and seniors. Besides having my own ties to them for many, many years, their nurse and social worker helped my Mother and provided some much needed services when she was living alone.

Unite 2 Fight Paralysis, a new favorite since being immersed in the world of spinal cord injury, is a wonderful group of people dedicated to uniting and empowering the international spinal cord injury community to cure paralysis through advocacy, education and support for research. Marilyn Smith and her team have worked tirelessly to make progress in all of these areas and continues to provide a voice for all of us in search of a cure. Thank you! (www.u2fp.org)

Another favorite local non profit is the Community Soup Kitchen (www.cskmorristown.org) who provides nutritious meals in a warm, safe, and caring environment, free of charge, no questions asked along with assistance in accessing community resources, services, and educational programs. Carol Kennedy has been involved with this organization for many years and they meet an ever increasing need for these types of services.

Some SCI favorite resources: The Kessler Foundation, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, SCI Sucks, Spinalpedia and  FacingDisability.com. Check out these links and take advantage of the information and services they provide. Perhaps they will become some of your favorites in the future!

Enjoy the weekend, and I hope you look forward to the holidays with as much love and joy in your hearts as I do!

Cynthia

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This weekend, there are two totally unrelated things for me to write about. While they really don’t belong in the same blog, I only have one day to write about them, so here goes!

Happy Hanukkah to all our friends who celebrate the holiday also known as the Festival of Lights starting on December 8 and continuing for eight days. As I understand it, Hanukkah honors the perseverance of Judaism during ancient times, and the story of how the Menorah lamp miraculously remained lit for eight days. May you enjoy time with family and friends during this holiday season!

Also this weekend, the 5th Annual NY Warriors Al Youakim Invitational Wheelchair Rugby Tournament will be held at The Henry Viscardi School, Albertson, NY. Games will be played Saturday December 8th and Sunday December 9th. The daily schedule will be 9-7:00pm on Saturday and 9-3:00 on Sunday. Awards Ceremonies will immediately follow the final game.

If you have not seen or experienced quad rugby and are in or near Long Island, this would be a great time to see the sport. I am very excited to learn that the NY Warriors will have two teams – that is awesome! And one of our own Push to Walk Summer Campers who tried the sport during the camp has joined the team! We are very excited about that! Adaptive sports like quad rugby offer an opportunity for healthy competition, socializing and camraderie. All the players I have met the last several years going and watching the games have been the nicest people (off the court, anyway!), and they really enjoy the sport. Go and check out a game or two!!
Teams that are participating: New York Warriors – 2 Teams, Philadelphia Eagles, Gaylord Sports Association’s Connecticut Jammers  and Northeast Passage Wildcats
The Henry Viscardi School is located at 201 I U Willets Road, Albertson, NY 11507
Saturday:
9:00 – 10:30: New York 1 / Philadelphia
10:30 – 12:00 Wildcats / Connecticut
12:00 – 1:30: New York 2 / Philadelphia
1:30 – 3:00:  Connecticut / New York 1
3:00 – 4:30:  Philadelphia / Wildcats
4:30 – 6:00:  Connecticut / New York 2
Sunday:
9:00 – 10:30: New York 2 / Wildcats
10:30 – 12:00: New York 1 / Wildcats
12:00 – 1:30: Connecticut / Philadelphia
1:30 – 3:00:  New York 1 / New York 2
Maybe I’ll see you there! Enjoy the weekend, whatever you do!
Cynthia

 

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In this giving season, it is often the little things you do or give that can make a world of difference. Not every gift has to cost a lot of money or be difficult to find. Sometimes the best and most worthwhile gifts just take a little time and creativity. The site “Great Non Profits” offers just this type of opportunity – no cost involved, just some thought and a little time!

Please help Push to Walk (and maybe another favorite non profit also listed) by writing a review. This would help us spread the word about how so many people with spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions are regaining their independence and living a higher quality of life. Not only through physical gains but improving their emotional well-being as well.

If you can find a few minutes to devote to this activity, we would be very appreciative. Thank you!

http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/write/push-to-walk-1/?badge=1

Cynthia

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