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Posts Tagged ‘stem cell treatments’

Hello Everyone,

I’ve written about Boyd Melson in prior posts, and we’ve shared his story in Facebook postings as well. In summary, Boyd is a professional boxer and donates all of his purse winnings to Just A Dollar Please in order to bring spinal cord injury clinical trials to the United States. Boyd’s best friend, Christan, is a long time Push to Walk client, and our relationship with him started many years ago.

Boyd’s next fight is coming up on Wednesday, December 4 at BB King’s in New York City. Again, he will donate his winnings to Dr. Wise Young and the clinical trials. You can buy tickets (if there’s any still available) at www.teamfighttowalk.com. But my blog today is really about Boyd coming to Push to Walk and working out with our clients. Under the program “The Mission Continues,” Boyd is working with Drs. Patricia Morton and Wise Young on a spinal cord injury exercise program and walking. When Boyd is at Push to Walk, he has his boxing gloves and gets the clients to throw punches, block punches and keep themselves upright. With his constant banter, encouragement, smile and laughter, he has these clients working HARD!

Here’s a video clip that says it all. Let’s just say I got as much enjoyment out of watching this taking place as I’m sure the participants had actually doing it. Only thing is, I’m not sore or tired afterwards. I only had to hold the camera! 🙂

Enjoy watching, and please support Boyd’s next fight and justadollarplease.org! 

Thank you! Cynthia

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It would seem only right that the Push to Walk staff and I spent the last few days of September at the Working 2 Walk Science and Advocacy Symposium in Boston this past weekend.

Marilyn Smith and her entire team at Unite 2 Fight Paralysis (U2FP) hosted an amazing event that brought together researchers, scientists, advocates, related professionals and people with SCI and their families to hear the latest information as related to finding a cure for SCI and how to advocate as a community.

While much of the science was over my head, I am excited and energized about all that is going on in the US and abroad to find a cure for SCI. Admittedly, I am also frustrated at just HOW LONG this stuff takes! But it is exciting to learn about new research and hear updates from those who have presented at previous conferences.

Travis Roy’s opening remarks on the second day of the symposium were open and honest, revealing personal details about his challenges from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning. While mostly familiar to me, I hope his comments opened up some other eyes and brought just a small dose of reality to those working for a cure in their labs and not necessarily knowledgeable about the intricate difficulties a person with SCI faces each and every day.

U2FP does an awesome job of not only pulling together this conference, but also spreading the information afterwards. While some or most might not be available yet, stay tuned to the following links for posted details:

Unite 2 Fight Paralysis

Care Cure Forums for Kate’s incredible live blogging

(I see Care Cure has recently updated their forums, so please be patient if you find any bugs or problems. I know Wise Young and other moderators are working hard on needed fixes. They are scientists and advocates, not IT experts. It might some time to iron out the new system.)

Travis Roy Foundation

Here’s to hoping research continues for SCI and even more people and funds are allocated to work on this area. I am thankful there are dedicated scientists and teams doing a lot of exciting work, and pray every day that a cure will be found………we must ALL work towards this goal, support the research and ADVOCATE for ourselves!

Cynthia

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Summer Boot Camp Week Progressing!

Happy Summer! Of course, now everyone is complaining about the heat, but it doesn’t seem so long ago that the complaints were about the cold and rain…………I hope you are enjoying the warm weather, and staying cool when needed!

Summer Camp started off on Sunday with a fun Ice Cream Social and guest speaker, our very own “Push Girl” Christan Zaccagnino. We are very grateful to Curly’s in Riverdale for donating their delicious chocolate and vanilla ice cream for all to enjoy. I’d like to thank so many our staff members, clients, friends and family members for coming out!

Monday evening was devoted to art and yoga, and I’d like to thank Laurie Kammer and David McCauley from Rise Up Gallery for donating materials and providing inspiration for the art workshop, as well as Nancy Witters and Kula for Karma for providing a great yoga experience.

Our first Open House this week brought several vendors, visitors and prospective clients to Push to Walk on Tuesday. The place was busy! With demos of the Re-Walk, and the Standing Company wheelchair, we learned a lot about these products, and also had the Morph Wheel, Coloplast and Drivemaster here with samples and information. Lunch and sno-cones topped off the day!

A Wheelchair Rugby exhibition was held on Tuesday evening at the Wayne YMCA, and a few members from the Warriors Rugby Team demonstrated the game to clients and staff members. Many thanks to the YMCA for allowing us to use their gym!

Tonight, Wednesday, lots of people have already signed up to meet at Hooters in Wayne for Trivia Night. We have a large group, and last year was so much fun, I am looking forward to a great night tonight!

UPCOMING:

Thursday is our second Open House and will be held from 9:30 am – 3 pm. We’ll have more demos, including Matt Courson and the Restorative Therapies RT-200, an exciting new piece of “hybrid” equipment that combines an arm and leg workout in a seated elliptical machine.  Come and visit us! Invite others who might want to check us out!

On Thursday evening, we will be traveling to The W.M. Keck Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick to hear Dr. Wise Young speak about the SCI Clinical Trials and results coming from China, and his plans for U.S. clinical trials. Other speakers and vendors will be present as well. Tours of the Lab start at 5 pm and the presentations start at 6 pm. Please call or e-mail Stephanie for more info: 862-200-5848 or slajam@pushtowalknj.org.

Join us for a Sled Hockey demonstration put on by the New Jersey Freeze at Floyd Hall Arena from 10:30 am until 12 noon.  The Arena is located on the campus of Montclair University and their GPS address is 28 Clove Road, Little Falls, NJ.

While we are all busy enjoying the Summer Camp activities, I’d like to recognize Stephanie Lajam, our Communications and Special Events Coordinator for doing an OUTSTANDING job of arranging the week’s events. She has secured lunch donations for the whole week, scheduled many vendors, and worked out all venue details. THANK YOU, Stephanie, for all of your hard work!! Thanks also to our staff members for participating in so many activities, especially after putting in long days and many hours of training. A special shout out to Tommy Sutor, our Program Director, for managing the client schedules this week.

Thanks to our clients and family members for joining us; I hope everyone has enjoyed the week so far!

REMINDER – We do have Macy’s 25% coupons for sale for $5.00 each, good at any Macy’s store on Saturday, August 24. Buy some today!!! Share with family, friends and co-workers!!

Thanks for reading! Cynthia

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Our Own “Push Girl” will be on HBO Real Sports! Thanks to Christan Zaccagnino, and her willingness to share even the most intimate of details about her life, her relationships and her challenges, spinal cord injury is getting some well-deserved media attention from someone who is living a very full life. I am sure Christan’s story will make you laugh and make you cry, and will hopefully provide a spark for the bundle of dynamite needed to set off interest and funding for clinical trials for SCI in the U.S.

As many of you know, we follow Boyd Melson, a professional boxer who donates all of his winnings in the ring to Dr. Wise Young and the quest to bring clinical trials from China to the US. Boyd’s best friend, Christan Zaccagnino is a Push to Walk client, and she has worked tirelessly for many years to bring SCI into the media and the forefront of people’s consciousness. One HUGE step forward for Christan and Boyd (and the entire SCI community) is the filming of an HBO Real Sports segment which will be aired tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16, at 10 pm.

Set your DVR’s NOW!

To read a short clip about their story, click on this link: http://www.hbo.com/real-sports-with-bryant-gumbel/index.html.

I’d love to hear your comments after watching! Let me know what you think!

Cynthia

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This is a great write-up from a new client. There is no way I could describe the experience of coming to Push to Walk like he has!

http://calebsstemcell.blogspot.com/

(One small disclaimer, though, and something that does happen frequently – we are not physical therapy, don’t employ physical therapists, and don’t use the word therapy to describe ourselves. To a lot of people, the distinction is very blurred, and not usually a big deal. I tend to be a little over-sensitive about the issue, though, totally respect all that physical therapy offers, and am always careful in how our exercise program is described. Regardless, this is an awesome blogpost!)

Thanks, Caleb!

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This past Wednesday, doctors, researchers and scientists came together in Albany, New York to discuss “Progress in Spinal Cord Injury Research – The NYS Program: Past and Future.” I was not able to attend, so if anyone reading this did, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Also, if you know of a link to any information on the event, please let me know.

Many Push to Walk clients travel to our Riverdale, NJ center from all parts of New York: New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the lower Hudson Valley area. For a time, we even had a client traveling all the way from Albany once every two weeks! So we are very interested in what goes on in New York, and try to stay abreast of any developments.

From what I understand, the purpose of the conference was to present current information on research and treatments, while trying to convince the NY legislators to reinstate the funding stream for research through the traffic ticket and moving violations surcharges. While 70 million dollars had been used for this purpose from 1998-2009, that ended when those funds were diverted to unrelated purposes.

We support the reinstatement of these funds and hope that the symposium and press conference were an effective way to make this happen. Congratulations to everyone involved in the effort, and please let us know if Push to Walk can help in any way.

Cynthia

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With Valentine’s Day upon us, it was fitting that the New York Spinal Cord Injury Association chose to show some love and honor two very special people: Boyd Melson and Dr. Adam Stein. At Slate in New York City, a Mardi Gras fund raiser was held last night, and according to one attendee I spoke with, it was a lot of fun!

Their guest of honor was Adam B. Stein, M.D., Chairman Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hofstra North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine-The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.  Dr. Stein  received the 2013 Humanitarian of the Year award in recognition of his many achievements in the field of rehabilitation medicine and unfailing support of the SCI community.

Special Guest and MVP (Most Valuable Philanthropist) Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson – professional boxer and founder of Team Fight to Walk was honored for his generous support of SCI research and the quest for a cure.

I am honored to know both of these people, and recognize how valuable their contributions to the SCI community are. Thank you for all you do!

NYCSCIA is run entirely by volunteers, ensuring that all donations go toward funding programs and services that directly benefit people with spinal cord injuries.

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For the past few years, as our schedules have wound down and our weekends are not spent on our children’s athletic events and other activities, I have found myself watching more football games than ever before. Sundays have become more relaxing, and I enjoy watching either the Jets or Giants (no boo’s please!). Even though I sometimes question how the game is played and the number of injuries sustained, I do like to watch.

Since this week is leading up to the Super Bowl, I was curious about the sports reports I hear detailing various activities for the week. So I went online to check them out: Media Day, Legends for Charity Dinner, Super Bowl Breakfast, Luncheons and a Super Saturday of Service. Wow, it almost seems like THE GAME is lost in all of the other events!

But this got me thinking about such a BIG event. When the Super Bowl comes to New Jersey – YES, NEW JERSEY, not New York one year from now in 2014, wouldn’t it be great if the focus of all these “extras” could highlight the need for care, treatment, cure and quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries and paralysis from neurological conditions like MS, brain injuries and strokes?? Wouldn’t that be SUPER cool??? Come on, people, how do we make this happen??

New Jersey is home to the Jets AND the Giants and their passionate fans; Dr. Wise Young, a prominent international researcher for SCI cure is based at Rutgers University; Kessler Institute, a Model SCI Center, in West Orange;  Kessler Foundation who focuses on employment opportunities for people with disabilities (and so much more!); The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation which provides comprehensive resources & funding for everything related to SCI and paralysis, and of course, yours truly – Push to Walk!

Together, I think we should all get on board and petition the NFL to consider SCI and paralysis a major focal point for the 2014 Super Bowl. Anyone in???

Game on! Enjoy the excitement! 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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Thanks to the entire group at Unite 2 Fight Paralysis headed up by Marilyn Smith and the Working 2 Walk conference that was held in Irvine, California at the beginning of November. Our Push to Walk trainer, Tommy Sutor, attended the conference and was very excited to hear about the research that is going on from many different scientists. He came back with a ton of information to share, and has been telling us what he learned. So many exciting things going on!

One of the most important areas of the conference involved advocacy  and how people with spinal cord injuries need to join together and fight for a cure. While the areas of maintaining and improving health and wellness are important (very important, in my opinion if people want to be ready for a cure), the focus seemed to be on making advocating for a cure a priority now more than ever. Several people spoke about the current efforts and what individuals can do to contribute to the cause. As with most areas of concern, banding together and working in a unified group is sure to have more positive results than working separately and independently.

Please check the following links to learn more about what went on at the Working 2 Walk conference. Sorry I couldn’t be there this year – Hurricane Sandy derailed my plans (along with many others I am sure), but I look forward to attending next year in Boston. And since it will be back on the east coast, I look forward to more staff members attending as well. Thank you, Marilyn, for your hard work!

Check these links for more info:

http://working2walk2012.wordpress.com/2012/

http://www.u2fp.org/

Cynthia

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