Committed to creating a positive change...
In July of 2006, I had a tragic accident at 20-years old. I was enjoying a summer off from Syracuse University working hard to save money for school at my favorite cafe in New Hampshire. I was spending the evening enjoying time at my friends’ pool, when I dove in at just the wrong angle. The impact of the water caused me to break my neck, shattering my C4 and C5 vertebrae, and injured my spinal cord. I was diagnosed as a quadriplegic with no sensation & fully paralyzed from the chest down. My prognosis: a long recovery and rehabilitation. I immediately underwent spinal reconstruction of my neck in Massachusetts. For two weeks I was induced into a coma and completely ventilator dependent. The doctors were able to stabilize me enough to be flown to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA for 100 days of in-patient rehab.
Currently, I am challenging my limits with physical and manual therapy at Center IMT – rehabbing at the Fayetteville, GA and Bloomfield, CT clinic locations. Center IMT specializes in the recovery of complete spinal cord injuries. In November of 2008 I was admitted to the Beyond Therapy Program at the Shepherd Center Atlanta, GA. This is an intensive, exercised-based spinal cord injury rehabilitation program. Attending & working hard in both programs have facilitated me in progressing past the expected C4 level. I look back now, and remember when the doctors told me I would be in a sip & puff chair for the rest of my life, and now I am able to complete a full day of activity in a manual chair.
Born in New Hampshire, I am the youngest of three children. I have always had a passion for the art world and went to college to pursue this interest by studying Environmental Design Interiors at Syracuse University. While I have had the opportunity to attend more college level classes, my main focus is on redeveloping my fine motor skills, core stability, activities of daily living, and regaining my independence.
I met Cindy while attending both programs in Georgia, where she informed me of the amazing work her foundation is doing and what it is able to do for other recipients. Cindy’s determination and outgoing personality has inspired me to continue in my therapies and push though the challenges my injury has presented to me. I am honored to be a recipient of a grant through the Cindy Donald Foundation.