Posts Tagged ‘spinal cord injury cure’

In a unanimous decision Saturday night at the Roseland Ballroom, Boyd Melson beat Shawn Williams, improving his record to 8-0. I’m not a huge fan of boxing, but I do enjoy watching Boyd. Knowing that he is so passionate about raising money for SCI Clinical Trials in the U.S. makes me a huge fan! At times I feel like his mother, worrying about him getting hurt; at other times I am rooting for him to knock out his opponent. I pretty much hold my breath during each round!

Boyd donates all of his winnings to Dr. Wise Young at the Rutgers SCI Project, has formed Team Fight to Walk, and has enlisted the help of other boxers to support the cause.

Check out his website: www.teamfighttowalk.com and www.boydmelson.com. Boyd is a special kind of person, and I am glad to know him!

Roseland Ballroom, Jan 21, 2012

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Five years! Can you believe it? Push to Walk opened its doors for the very first time on January 15, 2007. We had three clients, two part time trainers, and barely 1000 sq ft of space. Most of what filled the gym was equipment we had at home that Darren used.  While he was at Project Walk in California for a week that January, we moved some of the equipment from home to the new Push to Walk location. Some other things he had at the gym at Ramapo College, and we did have a few platform tables built for the new gym. I am very proud to say that with only a $15,000 loan from me and my husband, we opened our doors. According to a three year schedule, that loan was paid off at the end of 2009, and we have sustained ourselves ever since.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have contributed to our success: the many clients who have placed their trust in us; our ever-widening circle of donors who have contributed to us and/or participated in our special events; my awesome staff who take their jobs to heart each and every day; dedicated Board Members who volunteer their time and energy to oversee our operations; many friends who have helped along the way; and other related agencies and organizations that have assisted us in one way or another.  With everyone’s help, we have more than survived these first 5 years – we have thrived!

I expect 2012 to bring more exciting news and events to Push to Walk and the entire spinal cord injury community. With the growing understanding and acceptance of specialized exercise workouts for people with SCI and the planned U.S. clinical trials, there is much to look forward to in the coming year. We can only hope that successful clinical trials would eliminate the need for our gyms in the future, but until then, we are here to help as many people as possible.

As we celebrate this 5th Anniversary, I am now even more keenly aware of the challenges and struggles that people with SCI face every day. I am also aware of the successes, triumphs and goals achieved. I have to thank all those who have shared their stories with me, helping me understand a little of the world they face each and every day. As a parent of a young man with a spinal cord injury (Darren, injured in 2004, now almost 26 years old) , I see one piece of the puzzle. Talking with clients and others I have met with SCI, their parents, children, spouses and siblings, you have all taught me so much. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your lives. I hope I can continue to help others as I learn what I can and pass on to others in need.

Thank you for being part of the Push to Walk Family!



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To build upon the information in my last post (and I hope you’ve checked the Unite 2 Fight Paralysis website at www.unite2fightparalysis.org), I wanted to share some additional information about other research that is going on right here in New Jersey.

If you have never met or listened to Dr. Wise Young and Dr. Patricia Morton at the WM Keck Center, SCI Project at Rutgers in Piscataway, I would suggest you try to attend their upcoming Open House this Friday, November 4. You can tour the lab and listen to Dr. Young’s updates on the latest news from the China SCINet Trials and his plans for U.S. trials in 2012. Go to   http://keck.rutgers.edu/calendar/calendar.html for the details on the event. Dr. Young also makes himself available after every presentation to answer your questions one on one. He is such a caring, compassionate person and a brilliant scientist – we are SO fortunate to have him right here in New Jersey! Take advantage of hearing him speak and take time to meet him and speak with him. I know you’ll be glad you did!

If I can answer any questions for you about the Open House, please ask!


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OK, I know it’s been a while – a very long while – since I’ve posted. No excuses, I know. Time to get back to business!

All of our Push to Walk trainers and I attended two wonderful, educational and informative days at the Working 2 Walk Conference in Rockville, Maryland. Many, many thanks to Marilyn Smith and her crew for organizing such a great forum for the SCI community.

They will be posting videos of all the presentations on their site as they are able to edit and upload them, so check their site on a regular basis to watch and learn what the scientists and researchers spoke about: www.unite2fightparalysis.org.

I personally found the workshop very enlightening and promising. There is so much going on in the world for SCI research, that I remain hopeful that it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of time. I am frustrated, like so many others who expressed their opinions, in the amount of time it takes to get clinical studies approved, but hopefully the SCI community can band together and work in an organized manner to help push things through the process in a  more timely fashion.

If you are interested in getting more involved in this aspect of the SCI world, I suggest you contact Marilyn Smith at Unite 2Fight Paralysis and let her know you’d like to join the cause. I’m sure she would appreciate hearing from you!


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As I continue my training for the NJ Marathon on May 1st, I mapped out a route of two segments of 9 miles each. There would be about a 10 minute break in-between, to transport me from one location to another. In the past, I have run this stretch of road, and it is just too dangerous. So my husband met me and drove me from the end of the first 9 miles to the beginning of the next. It was kind of brisk weather – mid 30’s – and sunny. I was psyched for the distance and liked the route I had planned. I overdressed (as usual!) and had to ditch a layer and my hat halfway through. Otherwise, the run went well! I was even able to push myself at the end, with the saying “run, Cynthia, run” (as in Forrest Gump) keeping me going.

During this three and a half hour activity, I was reviewing everything about the Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament the night before. The planning was a little easier this time around, as usually is the case, when you are repeating an event. I learned from last year to have more helpers, and that worked out great. I had the best people helping, offering to do whatever needed to be done, and when they finished one thing, they jumped right to the next task.

As the players came in, it was nice to talk with those I knew, thanking them for supporting Push to Walk once again. I met some new people, too, and enjoyed talking with everyone. With more help this year, I was able to “work the room” and wasn’t tied down to a job for the evening. That was nice!

What I thought about most during this run, though, were the people in chairs who came to support our cause, even though they are not clients of Push to Walk. One guy came all the way from Flemington, another lives in NYC and had been traveling most of the month of March. He came back early just so he could come to our event! Between the long drives and the planning it takes to do extra events like this, I was so appreciative they made time for Push to Walk! And several of our clients, too. It was great to see them there, having a good time.

These thoughts morphed into thinking about so many other people I have met who use wheelchairs for one reason or another. In  most cases, a chair is being used for a spinal cord injury, but not always. I have met some wonderful people and their families, all dealing with their injuries and their challenges in individual ways. Some seem to have it all figured out (I don’t know if they really do, or just seem that way), some have challenges that are on-going, persistent and difficult. As I meet each person, I enjoy talking with them, learning about them and spending time with them. It doesn’t necessarily involve any conversation about why they’re in a chair. Sometimes it comes up; oftentimes it doesn’t.

In any case, I guess my mind was quite occupied with these thoughts, as my 18 miles didn’t really seem that terrible  (until the next day that is, which will be the subject of my next blog!). So as I reviewed the success of the event, the people who helped and those that supported us, I was grateful that Push to Walk has so many “friends.” Thank you, friends – all of you – for helping us accomplish our goals. And thank you for the motivation to reach my own personal goal – running a full marathon in just 5 more weeks!


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Last night, Wednesday, February 9, 2011, Boyd Melson fought his second pro boxing match, and won! Some people might not give this much thought, since Boyd is now just 2-0 in his career. But Boyd is fighting for so much. All of the proceeds from his fights will be donated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury. Why? Because Boyd’s dear friend, Christan, sustained a spinal cord injury more than 15 years ago. Boyd has been by her side, researching treatments and therapies, accompanying her to places near and far so she can do whatever it takes to live a higher quality of life. He wants to find a cure for spinal cord injury, and he’s willing to fight for it – literally.

Boyd has decided to donate his winings to Dr. Wise Young at the W.M. Keck Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Dr. Young is one the most prominent and respected scientists in spinal cord injury in the world. The fact that he is right here in NJ is amazing! He is trying to get clinical studies started here in the U.S. and has started a website called www.justadollarplease.org. The amount of money that needs to be raised is a staggering figure, but if each person gave just one dollar, just think how much this would help!

I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Boyd when he accompanied Christan to her workouts at Push to Walk. As a former West Point cadet, Boyd is one of the most polite men I know. And he gives great hugs – the bone crushing type! No wonder he’s a menace in the boxing ring! I have also had the pleasure of meeting several of Christan’s family members, and it is no wonder she is the strong, vibrant, energetic woman she is. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog topic!

Check out Boyd’s website at www.boydmelson.com and see why he’s called “the Rainmaker.” Next fight – March 12 at the Foxwoods. See you there!

As soon as I figure out how, I’ll upload some of my photos from last night’s fight onto our Push to Walk facebook page.


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