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Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

Wow, we’ve been open six years!! I’m never sure if I should call this a birthday or an anniversary – according to Webster’s, we fit both definitions. Both are fine, and both express the celebratory nature of recognizing so many accomplishments!

By now, most of you know the story of Push to Walk and the story of my son, Darren and our family. If this is the first time reading my blog, or your first encounter with Push to Walk, please visit the About Us section of our website for more information. A very abbreviated version is that after Darren sustained a spinal cord injury in July 2004, we traveled back and forth to California for an intensive exercise program and subsequently realized that New Jersey needed a program like this. With none around, we started our own. Darren came up with the name, and six years later we are not only sustaining ourselves but growing in several different ways.

Check out this link for some new videos of Darren using the Gait Harness Walker, and take a look at some of our other client videos, too. They are ALL amazing!

With more trainers, more clients, more board members and added administrative staff, we are providing a unique exercise program that is not only focused on people with spinal cord injuries, but now includes traumatic brain injuries, MS and stroke as well. Our trainers continue to educate themselves in these areas of specialty, have started doing research and work together as a team to ensure that our clients receive the best possible workouts every single day. Our board is dedicated to helping Push to Walk expand in a planned and organized fashion, and is embarking on a Strategic Planning Process to help us develop our way forward. Our supporters continue to amaze us with their generosity which is critical to our existence. And our administrative team is behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly.

We thank our clients for putting their trust in us to help them in their journey. Each person is in a different place when they join Push to Walk – physically, emotionally, financially. We develop relationships with them, help them identify goals and work with them to achieve those goals. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives and help them succeed.

Thank you to everyone who has helped Push to Walk come so far! Together we are pushing forward and making a difference!

Cynthia

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Is it an anniversary? A second birthday? A day to celebrate life or mourn loss? For me, it’s all of these things and so much more. July 23, 2004 was the day our lives changed forever. Most notably my son Darren’s, when he sustained his spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. It affected his whole family, his friends and an entire community. Now, 8 years later, I’d also like to think it has changed the spinal cord injury community as well, at least locally, with Push to Walk.

But the personal side of the story is now a part of our lives. I can’t even begin to imagine the thoughts in Darren’s head as this date comes around each year. On the outside, I see a strong, motivated, determined young man who lives life to the fullest. He’s accomplished so much and has much more he strives to do. He sets goals for himself and works toward them with a calculated plan. I admire him every minute of every day.

Even eight years later, tears are always just beneath the surface and a thought, a word, or a vision brings all the raw emotions to the surface. And I am not the person living this life, but observing it one step away. How Darren and all the others with SCI I’ve met do it, I can’t completely comprehend.  As I write through my tears at this keyboard, I recall the many wonderful memories of life before SCI and there are many. And in these 8 years, there are also many good and happy memories. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss our “old life.” The spontaneity, the freedom, the ability to do whatever one pleases without the challenges that must be faced at every turn.

But here I find myself, immersed daily in the lives of people with SCI, and I am grateful I am where I am, doing what I am doing. Sure, some days I’d rather stay in bed and keep the covers over my head, but what would that accomplish? I’ve said for a very long time “if Darren can keep going, then so can I.” So I wake up each morning and face the day, having a hopeful, optimistic plan for something good to happen today. To work toward some goal that will help someone, do something that will make someone’s life a little better, a little easier, or a little happier. This is what keeps me going.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us in some way during this journey. There are way too many people to name, but my family, friends, neighbors know who they are. To countless others who have been there for us in the past and continue to support us – thank you. While I would not have chosen this path for myself (and certainly not for Darren), I am trying to at least have a positive impact on those around me.

Here’s to LIFE – the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks to those around me for helping me to focus on the good, not dwell on the bad and to laugh at the ugly…………..we are all in this together and I treasure your love, friendship and support.

Love Cynthia

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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.

Cynthia

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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Today is my birthday! I love celebrating my birthday and enjoying the day with family and friends. I even made cupcakes yesterday, but it was so I could eat the cake batter, not the cupcakes! There’s no calories in cake until it’s cooked, right?! I love getting cards, e-mails and reading Facebook posts. Every single one brings a smile and warm thoughts about the person who was so thoughtful to not only remember, but to send a greeting of some sort.

I love the American Cancer Society’s slogan – The Official Sponsor of Birthdays. Whoever came up with that is a genius! While some people I know don’t like to acknowledge or admit their age, don’t like to celebrate birthdays and get depressed when yet “another” one rolls around, I am just the opposite. Not that getting old is so great, but living certainly beats dying by a very wide margin. Even at age 53, there is so much more I want to do, want to learn, want to see. I want more birthdays!!!

Three years ago, I ran my first full marathon 6 days before my 50th birthday. It had been an important goal for me, and I accomplished it with a lot of dedication and commitment. My family and friends were with me all the way and were there to catch me at the finish line. It was an emotional scene that still brings tears to my eyes. Even my long runs in my current training schedule get me choked up, imagining the finish line I will be crossing on May 1st at the NJ Marathon in Long Branch. Running is therapy for me: time to sort out my thoughts and think through ideas. Time for myself, dedicated to myself. And, as you know by now, to our Push to Walk clients.

I’d like to think that the American Cancer Society doesn’t own that slogan all by themselves. If we all live life to the fullest, help ourselves and others celebrate life, we can all be sponsors of birthdays. I’d like to think that Push to Walk can sponsor birthdays as well – helping people with spinal cord injuries stay healthy, live full and productive lives, and live longer lives. I sure hope we do!

Here’s to birthdays! And to celebrating life! May you enjoy your day today as much as I am enjoying mine!

Cynthia

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