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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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Happy Friday Everyone!

I am so excited to pass along this link! A video about my son Darren’s story and the reason we founded Push to Walk was recently produced and is featured on CNN.com. Check it out!

CNN Stories Worth Watching: Paralyzed Adventurer Moves Forward

Many thanks to our Board Chairman Ralph Rathyen for initiating contact with Sarah Galus Esteves at CNN and her commitment to bring it through the process for story development. Thank you to Sarah, Holly Firfer and the entire team for bringing our story to the public!

Please share with others through email, Facebook, etc.  Help us spread the word!

Enjoy the weekend! Cynthia

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has again designated September 2013 as Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. This fits in nicely with the nationally recognized month, and will hopefully serve to educate, inform and advocate for all those people living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

One of my personal goals of SCI Awareness Month is to help people in general understand what spinal cord injuries really mean. Here’s a quote that sums it up:

“I don’t like it that media shows only “inspirational” people.  I want people to know what happens when there aren’t any accessible parking places left.  I want them to know about pressure sore issues, catheters, bowel concerns, pain, medications, the average income, assistance needed—the whole dark side.  I don’t want their pity.  I want them educated.  Only then can they understand the need for ADA compliance, rehab availability and medical research.”   —  Karen Miner, C4, Roseville, California

While there does seem to be more media coverage lately about SCI, and that is a good thing, (hopefully we contribute to that as well), there is a need for people to understand what the daily challenges are for a person with SCI. The things the able-bodied population (including me) take for granted every day. With our clients and interactions with family members, we hear what the realities are every single day. With persistence, determination and a will to move forward, people deal with and overcome these daily challenges, but as an outsider, we have no idea…….

The obvious challenges are physical mobility and lack of accessibility in still so many public places. Transportation challenges are high on the list: not being able to drive, affording an accessible vehicle, relying on drivers, even getting a vehicle repaired. All can disrupt a person’s schedule for days, even weeks. Usually the unspoken topic is bowel and bladder issues. When a daily routine of bowel movements is disrupted by any number of causes (diet, medication, anxiety, physical ailments or other unknown assailants) a person’s self confidence, dignity, and emotional well being are attacked along with schedule changes and missing work, school and exercise. When bowel and bladder accidents happen either at home or in public, even those who figure out ways of dealing with it can become frustrated, angry and upset.

Any little thing can trigger a downward spiral. Sometimes a person’s emotional state is so fragile, a “simple” disruption is anything but. I can list many more challenges that none of us really see when we see someone who uses a wheelchair. Please know they exist; just be aware. That’s one thing I hope SCI Awareness Month can help accomplish.

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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Happy Monday! Happy that warm weather and sunshine have arrived (finally) in New Jersey!

I am not a basketball fan, but do follow sports news enough to know that March Madness is a sub-culture all its own. I even know who the Final Four teams were and who’s playing for the championship tonight. But that, I admit, is about all I do know. And I am curious – did it used to be that March Madness actually ended in March, ’cause last I checked it’s clearly April today…..

However, at Push to Walk, we had our own version of March Madness going on all month as well. I had the best intentions to write more this past month, but was distracted by some big projects (all good!) and procrastinated, much to my dismay (and that of my Communications Coordinator as well). But I am back!

This picture tells of our amazing client accomplishments and competition with each other to be “on the board.”  Some of these clients don’t even know each other, others do, and the competition has become FIERCE! I hope this gives you a sense of how hard our clients are working, what their goals are, and what they are accomplishing.

Compared to this………basketball is easy!! Let me hear some cheers from the crowd!

Push to Walk Blackboard

Push to Walk Blackboard

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Push to Walk Program Director, Tommy Sutor, received approval from William Paterson University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subject Research to conduct a pilot study, “An Investigation of the Intra- and Inter-Rater Reliability of the Neurological Impairment Movement Strength Test on Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury” in mid-January. This is a long and fancy title for saying that we want to develop a more objective way to conduct our initial evaluations with new clients.

While what we’ve been doing to this point is helpful, there is a certain amount of subjectivity to the methods, and we want to change that. By conducting this pilot study, we hope to develop a standardized method of testing movement strength so that measurements found in initial evaluations would prove more beneficial in subsequent tests and progress reports. Actual measurements can then be tracked and analyzed, showing us exactly how our program is helping any given person.

Push to Walk is very grateful for the assistance provided by Michael Figueroa, EdD, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at William Paterson University, especially in obtaining approval of the IRB. This is very exciting for Push to Walk as an organization and will help us validate and document methods and progress for our clients.  Stay tuned for more details as this comes together!

Cynthia

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