Date of Injury: October 2010
Level of Injury: C6, Complete
How the injury happened: During a bike ride I crashed and was thrown over the handle bars of my bicycle, landing head-first on the sidewalk. I damaged my C5, C6 vertebrae and my spinal cord. I am paralyzed from the chest, down. Because of the level of my injury my hands are closed into a fist and I don’t have the use of my triceps.
What type of assistance has Be Perfect provided for you, and how has that helped you regain an independent and active lifestyle? I am very grateful for my scholarship from the Be Perfect Foundation. Without it I could not afford to workout with a trainer at Project Walk (PW). Over the years with PW I have developed my upper body and core strength so I could get out of my power chair and into a manual wheelchair. My wife has a neuromuscular disease so she is limited with how much she can move and assist me. With my membership to PW she is able to go into The Claremont Club to workout to stay in the best shape that she can and slow down the impairment that she has. As I get stronger I become more independent and I don’t need to ask her for as much assistance for everyday tasks.
How has Be Perfect re-instilled hope back into your life again? Being involved with Be Perfect and knowing Hal Hargrave keeps me striving to better myself by being the best husband and dad I can be even though I’m in a chair. When you’re part of the Be Perfect family, there’s no excuse not to move forward and carry on with confidence.
How has Project Walk helped you if applicable? PW is more than a gym to my wife and me. As we’ve gotten to know other clients, wives and moms it has served as a support group, too. I talk to others about how they deal with life in a chair and we share experiences. We talk to wives and mothers about being caregivers and share those experiences too. We share ideas and it benefits all of us.
What are some goals that you have set for yourself, that you are proud to say that you have attained? Working-out over the years at PW I have been able to regain a lot of my upper body strength and core strength for my trunk control. When I started there I was using a power wheelchair. Over time I was able to use a manual chair every day. That was an important goal for me. At stores and restaurants I am able to push myself up the cut-out ramps from the parking lots to the sidewalks without any assistance. It took a while, but I can also push myself up the ramp from the parking lot to PW’s front door. It’s a good warm-up before I workout. Also, it was a bicycle accident that caused my Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) as I was an avid bicycle rider. I’m back out there riding again but now it’s on a handcycle. It’s great to be out riding again. It’s a fun way to get in a workout and it keeps my spirits high.
What are some future goals that you would like to attain, that Be Perfect can help you achieve? With Be Perfect’s support I can continue to stay strong and healthy. I’m working on my next goal which is to work on strengthening my shoulders and upper back more to improve my posture. I’m tall and I spend every day in my wheelchair so my posture needs improving. I’m also working on being able to transfer from my wheelchair to a couch and back again and the front seat of our car. Right now I’m in a wheelchair van where I stay in my chair and my wife uses straps to keep my chair in place.
Anything else that you would like to tell the donors or a simple thank you that you would like to give them? My family and I would like to say, “Thank You,” to all of the donors that give generously to the Be Perfect Foundation. There are many charities out there you could donate to and I really appreciate that you believe in what the Be Perfect Foundation is doing for so many people living with a SCI. Also, a big thank you to all of the volunteers who keep Be Perfect ticking.
Anything else that you would like to tell the donors or a simple thank you that you would like to give them? Myself and other clients get to workout with Specialists that understand our bodies and know what each of our strengths and weaknesses are. They get us out of our chairs and put us to work on exercise machines to strengthen those weaknesses. Getting to know others who deal with life in a wheelchair and working-out at PW improves our quality of life.