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It is with great sadness we report that Chris Arbini passed away on August 9, 2020.
Today we join with Chris’s loving supporters to extend our heartfelt condolences to Chris’s family and friends. We wish you peace and comfort at this time of sorrow. – Help Hope Live Staff
I thought it was about time to chime in personally to let you all know how I’ve been doing and how much I appreciate everyone’s support.
This past year and change has without a doubt, been the hardest time in my life. Since my initial injury, my entire life has been completely turned upside down. Because I’ve lost the ability to walk and use my fingers, I’ve had to relearn how to do virtually everything from using my phone, to brushing my teeth, to scratching an itch. Every task in my life has become a challenge, and it’s hard to fathom how much I took for granted before the injury.
In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize how hard it is to even talk about. The changes in my life are just so comprehensive that I don’t really even know where to start.
Without a doubt the most positive thing that has come out of all of this is the outpouring of support and love from family and friends. There is no way I could’ve gotten to this point without all of you. I can’t really even express properly how much I appreciate all of your support, but I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.
One last thing I wanted to mention for now—another good thing that has come out of all this is that I have rediscovered one of my latent passions: art. Before the injury I was creative at work creating interfaces for apps and websites, but now since things have changed I’ve had to get “creative” so to speak and find a new outlet for my energy, and I am fortunate enough to still be able to use my hands to draw and paint. Despite everything that I am going through, when I am doing art, all is right with the world.
It brings me joy to create and share my art with my friends, family, and the world. It is my hope that by sharing my art, I can spread awareness about spinal cord injuries and what is still possible with the right attitude, and of course, love and support from all of you.
I will be posting some of the art on this site but also on my Patreon on page. Here is a link to check it out:
Today is a year since my brother's accident. Tonight is the last night Mom and Dad will be in Colorado with Chris, and tomorrow, after 7 and a half months living there helping him, they are flying back home to California. Chris and Brooke still have some logistical things to work out to make everyday life run smoothly, but even though it is hard to say goodbye (for now), it will be good for them to find their way back to their independent life. Today Chris, Brooke, Mom and Dad went to Rocky Mountain National Park. My mom just texted me some photos, so I created an album called One Year Later. She told me Chris took better photos, so when he sends them to me, I will add them. I also added an album with some beautiful photos of a hike Chris and Brooke went on recently with our friend Chris.
Last week was Chris' and our parents' last days at the apartment they rented in Littleton, as well as Chris' last days in out-patient care at Craig. The physical therapists in the NRN program made a positive impact on Chris' life and we are grateful that he worked with them. While he won't have access to all of the machines that they use at Craig, he has his FES bike at home, and his electrical stimulation for the hands. He is also going to get a standing frame in a couple of weeks and make an effort to use it every day. He will continue to work hard during this period transitioning back home to "normal" life. At some point soon he will need to get an adapted car, which will help him more easily interact with his community, and commute to work once he finds a new job! Adaptive cars can be expensive, and without the job he was counting on returning to, the financial demands are daunting. If you feel like you want to help Chris get back to a more normal life, please consider making a donation to help him get a car. Every little bit helps. Thank you so much for your support <3
Dear Friends and Family, the last month and a half has brought some good news and some bad news. First of all, the good news is that Chris was able to get an FES bike for home, thanks to all of your generous support! He still has a few weeks left at Craig, but now he will be able to continue some physical therapy after he moves back home. We are all so grateful that he will be able to do that.
The bad news is that the company he was working for before the accident closed, so not only will he not have a secure job to return to when he's ready to work again, but now he will only be covered on his health insurance through August. We are still looking into what the best option will be after that, and we are sincerely hoping that those threatened massive cuts to medicare won't happen.
I added some more thought-provoking images to Chris' artwork album. I also added an album entitled "Time with Friends and Family" with photos of Chris, friends and family "making the best of it." As always, thank you for your thoughts and support. <3
Chris is still working hard at Craig and creating art at home. He will be continuing his NRN program through June at which point, the current plan is to head back to Boulder. He is counting on getting an FES bike that he will be able to use after he has finished out-patient care. For the time being, Craig has loaned him a standing machine that he uses daily. The standing machine is good for circulation and weight-bearing. He recently had a visit from his good friend who is also named Chris. I added an album called "Visit From Friend Chris" with photos that he took of my brother during his daily PT at Craig. I also added some more photos to the album Chris' Art. He has been creating a lot! As I don't always know the meaning behind the pieces, he has been adding the descriptions himself which he will probably do soon.
I have added more photos to the album entitled Chris' Art. He has been creating a lot and I love seeing them all together because they are so colorful and expressive. I also created an album called Life Outside of Craig, but there are currently only two photos in there; cats love Chris and often jump up on his lap, so the two photos are of Chris holding cats. I will post more to both albums as I receive photos.
NRN is going well and Chris is working hard. Still living by the motto: One Day at a Time.
My brother sent me the photos that I took of him in his NRN while I was in Colorado in the beginning of March, so I have published them in an album here. My mom sent me photos of some artwork Chris did for which I also created an album. He has said that doing artwork means a lot to him during this time of long recovery, as it allows him to focus his mind in a creative way and distracts him from the hard work that still lies ahead of him. Hopefully he will send me more artwork as he does it.
He enjoys going to NRN and the women who work with him there are just wonderful. They care so much and are positive and joyful which makes the time there pleasant for him. He and Mom are also trying to do the electrical stimulation at home with a portable FES pack that he bought with the fund contributions (thank you!!). The more he does it the better.
I spent the last week in Colorado with my brother and parents. Our good friend Chris Foehr also came to visit. He and my brother share the same birthday, March 9th. While we wish things could be different, it was nice to all be together. On Monday of last week Chris started a three-month program at Craig called NeuroRecovery Network (or NRN) which is a program that was developed by the Christopher Reeve Foundation. The first couple days consisted of tests that measured different functions and Chris' abilities as they are now. Then he began the actual program in which they connect him to electrical stimulation while training him to perform various functions. While I was there, they were working on retraining his hands to grasp. I took a lot of photos, but all on my brother's phone. He will be sending them to me soon and I will post them. I also added some descriptions to the current latest photo album.
Again, it has been a long time since I have posted an update. We all wanted more than anything to share some good news, but soon after Chris began his PT at Craig, the infections came back and he became even sicker than he was before. Doctors tried many kinds of antibiotics, coupled with probiotics and foods with pro-biotic qualities, but none worked. We finally found an alternative solution which was a procedure that replaced good bacteria in his body. The procedure happened a week ago, and though the doctors were unable to guarantee its success, so far it seems promising. Chris has been able to go to Craig for some PT, as well as workouts in their gym. The exercise has been great not only for his body, but for his morale as well. I made a photo album called "PT & The Gym" that shows my brother using some of the machines at Craig.
I do not yet know what all the activities are, but I am planning a trip out there early in March to celebrate his birthday. We will go every weekday to Craig, I will learn exactly what he is doing, and I will put captions on the photos.
Our parents went out to Colorado in the middle of December with the plan of renting an apartment near Craig, so my brother can be closer to the facilities and use them more frequently. After a long time staying in Boulder while my brother was sick, they finally moved into the apartment about a week and a half ago. It has been so good for my brother to use the gym at Craig regularly. Something that he plans on using the fund for is an FES bike (see photos). An FES bike sends electrical currents to the legs as it spins, promoting circulation and providing nerve stimulation. He has been using it for 45 minutes to an hour each day, but since his access to outpatient care will ultimately be limited by insurance, having an FES bike at home will help him tremendously. We are unsure exactly when this purchase will happen because it is so expensive (close to $20,000), but we know that it would be very beneficial. We appreciate so much your thoughts, well wishes and support. Thank you all <3
The transition from hospital to home was more challenging than we thought it would be, and because of this, it has been awhile since we have posted any updates. Just before Chris' homecoming, Brooke's mom Kim graciously stepped in to install ramps and make the necessary alterations to the furniture, but in spite of these home modifications, the house could not be made entirely accessible. It was difficult for my brother to come back to such a familiar place and not be able to interact with it in the way he did so recently. On top of the rough adjustment, it took him awhile to get over the infections he acquired while in the hospital. But after a long, difficult month and a half of fighting off these residual infections and relearning how to live in his house, Chris was finally ready for outpatient care at Craig. He began going last week, making the trek from Boulder to Englewood for physical and occupational therapy, and training sessions on their specialized equipment. I have added a photo album "Back at Craig" with photos of various activities/sessions and I will continue to add photos as I get them. As always, thank you for your care and support.
For the past several days, Chris has been quarantined in his room at Craig, due to an infection he got from being in the hospital environment. He and Brooke missed a Halloween party, but in the spirit of the holiday, they decided to wear their costumes anyway. Yesterday he was finally able to leave his room (see the photo album Last Days at Craig). Tomorrow is his discharge date which is bitter-sweet; while we are all happy Chris and Brooke will be able to go back home, they will be presented with a lot of challenges, no longer having daily access to the assistance the hospital provides. As always, thank you all so much for your support.
Craig provides a lot of good PT and OT, but they also have a Rec Center that allows the patients to participate in various activities. I created a new photo album called "Recreation at Craig/Outings" that shows some of the activities that Chris has taken part in.
Thank you so much to all those who have donated. Chris has already begun to use the fund, buying a necessary accessible home furnishing he will need when he is discharged from the hospital. Insurance did not cover any of it and the total was $3,000. Knowing that he will be faced with many expenses in the near future, we deeply appreciate all the support.
It used to be that people who suffered from such injuries stayed at Craig for an average of 6 - 9 months, but now insurance companies push them to discharge their patients as soon as possible. Chris' tentative discharge date was October 20th and his doctors and fabulous case manager were fighting to get him two more weeks of inpatient care. Yesterday we found out that he was approved for the extra two weeks. We are grateful for this extra time, though it still seems too soon...
You and Brooke are always in my thoughts. Love you, Sandy
Love you Chris!
We are all pulling for you here in Oregon. Your cousin Amy has spread the word and there has been out pouring of love & prayers
This is HORRIBLE! We are facing the same issues with my husband’s brain cancer! Only difference? Nobody has done ANYTHING to help us out. In fact, I was UNFRIENDED for my political opinions.
Love & support from the Strouhal’s
Love you, Chris. Thinking of you always.
Happy New Year, Chris and Brooke! I hope you're having a wonderful time in Texas. Keep in touch. Love, Sandy
This past August we celebrated our 20th Drake High School reunion in San Anselmo. Although you were not there physically, you were there in spirit. If you are interested in seeing the pictures please visit our facebook page (drake ninetyseven). Today we will be donating the remaining reunion funds to Help Hope Live in your honor. Sending light + love + healing.
Sincerely Gretchen (and the entire class of 1997)
I was just thinking about you, so I thought I'd drop a note and say "hi!". I hope this message finds you in good spirits and having a good day.
I had a fantastic visit with Jenny last week; it was so nice to see her and have her visit me for the first time up here in Seattle!
Sending all my best,
My family and I have you in our prayers everyday and are sending our most powerful healing thoughts and love your way from San Anselmo for your full recovery and healing.
My love, thoughts/prayers, & strongest healing vibes are sent to you, always Chris! Keep the faith, patience & persistence! Breath by breath...day by day..keep working hard, staying positive & you'll heal up. Love you all Arbini Family. Stay strong!
I just looked at the new pictures that Jen posted and the ones of your artwork. You are a rock star! Way to go.
The NRN program sounds very promising. We're glad the infections have gone away so you can take full advantage of this program. Love you.
Sandy and Mike
You're in our thoughts and prayers Chris. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Duffy Family, next door in Bella Vista
Happy birthday, Chris! You're always in our thoughts.
Love, Sandy and Mike
Sandy and Mike
Dear Chris, We are all rooting for you on Bella Vista and wishing you the very best. Gerald and I are thinking of you and your family often, and hoping that you will progress forward and gain more movement and feeling. Sending all best thoughts to you and your family and loved ones.
Hey Chris and family, along with my small donation I send my thoughts for positive kick ass results. Peace to all!
Margaret Dos Santos
Chris, the class of 1997 wishes you well and sends light and love your way!
Happy New Year, Chris and Brooke
We've loved looking at the pictures of you hard at work doing physical therapy. We know the pt will bring real benefits in the new year.
Love, Sandy and Mike
Dear Chris and Brooke, we think of you both so very often. We are sending healing thoughts and lots of love your way!
Jen and Fred Hamdun
I enjoyed seeing your photos and reading about your progress. I’ve got prayers going for your recovery, and wishing all good things to you, Brooke, and the family, too!
We have never met, but I saw a poster with your story in an ice cream shop in northern California.
I wish you well. Keep fighting.
Dear Chris, Ron and I just learned of your accident. We send our good thoughts to all the Arbinis, and we are rooting for you!
Gayle and Ron Hagen
Keeping a good and hopeful thought for you, Chris!
Much love and sending positive thoughts your way.
As a wise man once said .... "topshop."
Hi Chris and Brooke- Long time no chat. I heard you two were a thing :-) I just wanted to let you both know I am sending prayers and good vibes. Chris, I remember you sense of humor. So if you need a good laugh, please consider face-timing me whenever you'd like. I have a boat-load of kids, a dog I left outside last night (for the whole night) and a pack of skunks that live in my backyard.... I'm sure we'd find a way to make you smile. Prayers again for your health.
Elizabeth Patano Jaworek
Chris, so sorry to hear about this freak accident. You have such a strong spirit, I know you will overcome this. You're in our thoughts and prayers here in Chicago.
Chris and Brooke, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the accident. You are both in my thoughts and prayers.
Chris, I'm sorry to hear about your accident and wish you and Brooke strength, courage and a hefty dose of laughter to help you along your path to recovery.
Chris, it's been a while but I wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Much love, strength, courage, and many blessings to you on your road to recovery. And, Brooke, praying for your strength and peace as well.
- George, closerlook, class of 2015
Love you, Chris and Brooke! You're both in my prayers. I'm so sorry to hear about your accident.
And as the other Angela said below, "Once a closerlooker, always a closerlooker".
We got you!
Hi Chris – I know it's been a while, but I wanted to say we're thinking about you, praying for you, and supporting you in any way we can at closerlook. Stay strong on your road to recovery! Big hugs to you and Brooke.
Once a closerlooker always a closerlooker - we're here for you.
Hello Chris, I am very sorry to learn of your accident. I live in Marin County and in 1982 I was injured in a big storm, that caused a mudslide. I have a C4 spinal cord injury. In 1987, I formed In Spirit to help quadriplegics with their attendant care. It's been 34 years now and my life has been predominantly good! The first year or 2 can be really rough as you learn to adapt. I don't know if you will be coming back to Marin County, but if you do I hope we can meet. You can check out our website-www,inspirit-marin.org. I wish you all the best.
I hope things are going well now that you're back home. I can't wait until the next time we all get to hang out together and I can meet Brooke. Keep strong! I'm rooting for you :)
Hi Chris, thinking of you and Brooke.Prayers and hugs to all.
Cheryl Wilson. Boise Idaho
We never met but somewhere along the way my east coast son met your west coast sister, whom I had the pleasure of meeting. I am sorry you are faced with this challenge. I am sending my support and sincerest wishes that the great love around you gives you hope and courage. You will be in my thoughts
Hi Chris! Hope you are settling in at home. Thinking of you and letting you know we are only a few minutes away. Don't hesitate to call.
Sending hugs! -Judi & David
I have not met you but your sister and I have been connected for some time. I am sending you support in hopes that you can meet the daily physical and spiritual challenges of your recovery.
Sally Amsden of Sal Lake City
Hi Chris! Heard you're headed home. As hard as it will be not having the hospital resources on hand, I hope being in your own home, in your own space will give you some comfort. Sending you healing vibes and positive thoughts from back home!
Teal Childress DuPre
Hey Chris, like Madeleine says - the beard looks good! thinking of you and sending the all good stuff to you and Brooke...
Hi Chris, I'm sending you love and healing energy everyday. I know this is a long journey, but you have so much strength and will and that makes all the difference. You've always succeeded at what you put your mind to, and I have every faith that this ultimate challenge will be another that you rise to. I'm so proud of you!! PS: you look great; I love the beard and long hair on you!!
We're thinking about you a lot and appreciating these updates on your progress. We continue to send love and lots of positive healing thoughts your way. Wishing you and Brooke a smooth and gentle transition from Craig, which I'm sure will be bittersweet as you get acclimated. WELCOME HOME.
Love, Susan, Chris, Maya and Zoe
Hey chris, this is ian from back home in marin. Sending my love and support on your journey of healing. I am truly sorry you have to go through this, I believe in you and hope you find the courage and strength you need to heal body and mind. Much love brotha.
I'm a friend of Jen's in California. She mentioned you're bailing out of the hospital today :) I wanted to let you know, that I'm sorry you're going through all of this. I'm thinking of you and keeping you in my happiest thoughts and wishes for a super healing. Love is the best medicine and I hope you feel abundantly surrounded with it. I invite you to connect with me anytime!! I'm good for laughs, being an ear, sending funny memes... I'm happy to try to be good at more boring things like making necessary calls, any errands, tasks I can help with from afar...
Love from California,
Sara (sister from another mister)
Dear Chris, you are in our hearts and minds every day, and truly you are an inspiration to us. It might be scary going home without the hospital staff, but you have lots of friends rooting for you - even from here in Mexico. Suerte!
Diana and Pedro
Chris, my prayers and those of my prayer warrior group in Las Vegas will keep your recovery in our hearts and minds. With God, anything is possible.
My heart goes out to you, Chris. You, Brooke, and your families will be in my thoughts and prayers. Stay strong and keep fighting.
Diana Nicely (Friend of Kim Powers from Dublin, Ohio)
Chris, I haven't talked to you since high school. But I miss video production class. That was hella fun. Miss you brotha! I am sorry to hear of your accident. Sending you positive vibes my friend!
I hope youre doing ok. Miss you lots bud. Let me know when's good, as I'd love to come see you in Colorado!
sending my love,
Keep the faith, Chris! It sounds like you have exactly the formula to succeed in your journey -- wonderful family and friends, great docs and nurses, good attitude and a smile in your heart and on your face. May God bless you. Remember....God is love; love heals and protects.
Sending prayers and hopes for a speedy recovery.
Hey Chris, there's not a day that goes by that I'm not thinking of you and pulling for you. It's awesome Jen set up this donation site. I love all the pics. My favorites were from our day at the go kart track in New Braunsfels! You were in beast mode!!!
I won't pretend I know what you're going through, because frankly, I have no idea. I do know that you are strong mentally and physically, that you're getting the best treatment possible, that you're a fighter, and have a great attitude, and your same great sense of humor! I also know you had a great life before your accident, and nothing can stop you from have a great life going forward!
And lastly, if you'll allow me to indulge, I think you have the best bedside caretaker on the planet. Our daughter Brooke. Kim has so enjoyed being in Colorado with y'all these last few weeks. Every time we talk she tells me how well you two are coping and working together to make the most of your situation, and give you the very best possible chance for a full recovery.
Signing off for now, but you guys are always on my mind and in my thoughts a daily prayers…
Hi Chris! We think about you all the time. And Brooke--you seem to be an amazing young woman. I hope we get to meet you some day soon.
Love, Mike and Sandy
Sending support and love from Fairfax CA, You also might want to do a "go fund Me" in Marin getting it out to the locals around here that know Chris, through your face book friends.
We are thinking of you and sending all of our love.
Keep up the great attitude and hard work! Things are only going to get better.
I keep you in my thoughts and prayers Chris. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
You're in our thoughts. Stay positive and keep up the good work with your therapy!
Sending so much love!
Michelle and Drew
Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending you prayers and love. Keep that sense of humor. Laughter is great medicine. xoxo
Judi & David
Sending healing energy for your recovery. Keep up the good work!!!
Sending you some positive, healing energy!
Trevalyan & Carissa Stugard
Keep the faith! we are all rooting for you!
Genevieve, Estella and Angele ( Jen's friends)
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Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Chris Arbini
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