The wheel dean
One thing I’ve noticed while growing older is how when we were young we hung out with people who liked the same things we did. Then we went through a stage of “finding ourselves” during and shortly after high school. Some may have found themselves quickly and began to execute their “life plan,” while others continued searching. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but for some of us, life took a turn that absolutely nobody would have searched for nor could have planned for!
Lucky for me I had a few amazing years after I graduated High School and was surrounded by my awesome family and some amazing friends. I was happy even though I wasn’t sure where my life was headed. But, when my life was shattered at 21, I still had an awesome family who was there for me 100% and those same friends were there as well. So regardless of what I lost in myself, the world around me still supported me. Unfortunately many others were not as lucky as me, and I can’t imagine going through such a devastating life changing event without the support system I had and still have.
This is why I have chosen to change my life-path recently. I feel at this point in my life that I need to focus on myself and those who I care about. I need to experience life in different ways, I need to converse with other persons who are in similar circumstances as I. I want to make sure that those who do not have the support system they need, can find it in me and those surrounding me.
You may wonder how I came to this decision and honestly I’m not sure if I can give you a perfect reason, but it was a combination of things. First of all time is not slowing down. I have come to the realization that I’ll never be rich and never own that Lamborghini that used to be plastered all over my walls as a kid and for the first time in my life I’m fine with that! It’s not necessary!
What would be nice is if I could make a positive change in the world or even just in another persons life. Having been part of a Mens-only Spinal Cord Injury group for the past few years, I have met some great guys. Some have more physical function than me, some have less. Some have brain injuries, some have careers, some are on disability, some both. Any which way, we can relate and understand each other. Being part of that group made me rethink things. I needed to stop what I was doing, face the fact that I have a disability that will affect how I can perform in life. I was working a dead-end job and it affected me both physically and mentally. So I made the change in my life. Now it’s time to make changes for others!
In September 2020 I became a Certified Peer Mentor with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s Peer & Family Support Program. Now I am ready and available to help anyone who may need support or who has questions about how to go back to school or work, start a relationship, care for a loved one, etc. I am equipped with endless resources to help with absolutely anything! Just ask me. If I don’t have an immediate answer, I will get it for you or direct you to a person who deals with your specific need. Please click here to email me or call/text 914-204-7263.
If you are a male with a Spinal Cord Injury and would like to join the Men’s Group please contact Don. Since Covid hit we have been meeting on Zoom every Thursday at 4pm-5:30pm.
Early Intervention Coordinator
If you are a female with a Spinal Cord Injury and would like to join the Ladie’s Group please contact Karen. They meet on Zoom every Tuesday at 2pm-4pm.
If you were born with Spina Bifida and would like to join in on the Virtual Group please contact Rita. They meet on Zoom the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 6pm-7:15pm.
Helpful Spinal Cord Injury Related Links:I welcome your input here. If you know of a valuable resource for those of us with physical disabilities, please contact me and I will post the link in this column. Also, if you find any broken links in my list here please let me know so that I can remove them.
- The Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association.
- The United Spinal Association.
- The Christopher Reeve Foundation.
- The Travis Roy Foundation.
- Peer Mentoring – United Spinal Association
- Fitness watch for wheelchair users – The MiGo
- SCI Trials – SCITrials.org
- A short writing about Spinal Cord Injury Burnout.
- MVD – Department of Transportation.
- Public transportation in / around Phoenix ValleyMetro.org.
- The Social Security Administration.
- The Department of Economic Security.
- ABLE Savings Account – able-now.com
- The Spina Bifida Association of AZ.
- Disabled veterans – VetsFirst.org
- Housing needs & modifications – Habitat for Humanity.
- Housing needs & modifications – Rebuilding Together.
- SRP Customers can apply for discounts on energy bills.
- Jim Lubin’s long list of helpful links.
- An article: Spinal Cord Injury & Dementia breakthrough