Accessibility for all: Helping people connect with who and what matters most
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Lauren was injured 3 weeks after her 19th birthday in an ironic diving accident.
Having been a competitive swimmer since age six, she instinctively performed a racing type of dive; straight out & streamlined. Unfortunately, Lauren struck what we believe was the opposite side of the pool and fractured not one, but three cervical vertebrae. The middle one exploded into a burst fracture and further damaged her spinal column.
She was diagnosed as an Asia A Complete C-5/6 Quadriplegic/Tetraplegia and was paralyzed from her chest downward. This was the most severe classification and we were absolutely in shock and disbelief that she was never expected to walk again.
The good news is that God saved her life, her brain and her breathing. Without a tracheostomy, Lauren could look forward to a slightly better quality of life – at least her breathing was not fully compromised.
As the months of inpatient rehab followed, so did our skilled nurse training to provide for her care. It was all so surreal. Her care is still fully dependent, 24/7 but she is vigilant and determined to regain as much independence as possible.
Through Lauren’s perseverance to push the rehabilitation window, she sought out the most rigorous Activity Based Training (ABT) programs she could find. Whereas insurance affords her only 20 hrs / year of PT, she was doing over 15 hrs/week of out of the chair, weight bearing exercise. This rigor has paid off with Lauren’s diagnosis being upgraded to an Asia B Incomplete. She has regained activation in some of her hip muscles, improved her hand and finger movements and overcome chronic orthostatic hypertension (low blood pressure). Her sensation has also “improved” regaining some sensory feeling beneath her injury site. Albeit mostly pain, or burning lava as she describes, we celebrate any new sensation, as it is a sign that things are reconnecting.
Rebuilding the complex neurological highway is no easy task. However we have learned that nerves can indeed grow around and through a damaged spinal cord. Lauren is proof of that having reignited sensation and voluntary movement in some of the paralyzed parts of her body. She is a dedicated to recovery and has staved off infections, pressure sores and other SCI complications due to her commitment to be a as healthy as possible.
Neurological re-connections are enhanced due to a rigorous exercise regime and her FES “Stim” Bike. She has regained back about 50% of her post injury weight loss and maintains a consistent healthy weight. The benefits of extensive, consistent exercise lends more benefits then the physical, as her psyche is positive and optimistic.
Lauren has radically changed her diet omitting neurotoxins like pesticides, gluten, yeast and fluoride. Inflammatory and genetically modified foods, dairy, & sugar are also eliminated. Excitotoxin food additives like MSG and aspartame have been linked to cellular degeneration in the brain and those too are off the list.
In a nut shell – NO PROCESSED FOODS allowed and NO PHARMACEUTICAL nerve blockers like Neurontin, Gabapentin, Tizanidine, Lyrica etc. She allows her spasticity to be alive & well! It however is often kept in check from the fatigue of her rigorous exercise program.
Lauren has taken a stand and spoken publicly about her injury in hopes of educating others and minimizing these types of dive accidents. She even has a YouTube posted to deliver this message more globally.
We are so very grateful to have her here to care for and dually grateful for the continued support which provides coverage for the many uninsured medical expenses.
Thank you most sincerely for your compassion and contribution to her recovery.
Enjoy this short 5 min video Lauren made showing her Artistic Endeavors (2020-2021).
Even COVID couldn't keep this girl down!
Photo shoot on 3rd floor without an elevator NO PROBLEM! We hired 2 of her hulky trainers to bump her up & down the stairs before & after the shoot. #muscle4hirecheck
When Lauren read for a small part for the Indy movie, Interabled, the producer changed the script for her to be the LEAD!
She was then nominated for BEST ACTRESS in the NY/LI Film Festival - such an honor!
Let's keep the ABILITY in dis-ABILITY!!!
WOW, just WOW!
In a crazy Covid pandemic, Lauren was casted in the leading female role in an Indi Movie entitled; INTERABLED. She acts as well as sings two original songs written for her role. An endearing story about finding oneself and also dating someone who is "differently" abled.
Check out a sneak peak on the trailer in the YouTube link below.
MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE?
Thanks to our generous Supporters & Sponsors , Lauren's training continues.
AND so does her RECOVERY!!!
Recent activation in her:
Thumb & Index fingers
Now locking out BOTH KNEES while standing!
Regulating BLOOD PRESSURE for the first time in 4 years!
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR THESE MIRACULOUS COME BACKS!
Many thanks to HHL Emily Webb for creating this photo montage & the PLEDGE for dive safety!
July is peak month for dive accidents & as it draws to a close, be mindful;
IF YOU CAN'T SEE THROUGH IT ... DON'T DIVE IN TO IT!!!
Enjoy the summer splendor, pools ,lakes, oceans & rivers. But when it comes to diving head first ... Just DON'T Do It!
Four years ago today June 10th, Lauren took a life changing dive that paralyzed her body as a quadriplegic.
TODAY IS HER LIFE DAY - a day we celebrate that she DIDN'T DROWN, DIDN'T DIE that night.
The irony of this injury still haunts us today as she was so competent in the water since age 6: a district qualifying distance flyer, a lifeguard & a water polo player in college.
At 19 her life changed radically as that instinctive decision to streamline dive into a body of water she couldn't navigate caused this tragic, catastrophic injury.
She coined the phrase, "If you can't see through it, don't dive into it"
She teaches that to local kids every year in hopes of keeping them safe.
If dive accidents occurred year round, they surely would represent a more significant statistic. However, as a seasonal activity, they do account for more then 2/3rds of all Sport related Spinal Cord Injuries & it is 100% PREVENTABLE.
We aspire to change dive injury statistics radically thru education and implementation of proper effective warnings on beaches, lakes, rivers and pools everywhere.
Hope everyone has a safe & injury free summer!!!
Janice Shevchek - Lauren & Erika's Mom
STANDING TALL! Lauren is pushing the envelope now training in facilities that are 100% devoted to Neuro Recovery. We are so amazed at the dedicated staff & owners of these facilities. Lauren continues to heal physically, psychologically & socially. #ProjectWalk,MtLaurel, #NextStep, #Core,#NeuroHub ALL HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY YOURS TRULY :)
Feeling so very blessed to be able to continue active therapy & forge through the arduous task of paralysis recovery.
To all of those who have donated and continue to support this charter ...
THANKS for GIVING!!
With infinite Love & Gratitude,
Some Phanatic LOVE!
A huge shout out to the Phillie Phanatic who helped open our Golf Fundrasier with a bang! Many thanks to the golfers who endured the heat and joined us for an outstanding luncheon. Kudo's to Spring Mill Country Club for putting out a first class venue. Sincere appreciation to our amazing group of volunteers for seeing it all through without a hitch.
THANK YOU to all of our supporters, sponsors and volunteers who made yesterday's 3rd Annual Golf Fundraiser for Lauren a great event!
Not early Thunderstorms, nor 94 degree scorching sun could interfere with the turnout.
Lauren's powerpoint presentation on Dive Safety was well received as was her sweet rendition of God Bles America.
A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO EMILY WEBB who took to heart our passion to share dive safety. Note the new PLEDGE PIC which Emily created. LOVE IT! Permission to share - desire to magnetize for every car to promote. As Lauren says, "If you can't see through it, don't dive into it!"
JULY is the LEADING month for SPINAL CORD INJURIES form DIVE ACCIDENTS!
Share Lauren's warning:
"If you CAN"T SEE THROUGH it, DON"T DIVE into it!
Join us Sunday, July 17th for Phillies Phundraiser & help Lauren share her new PSA on Dive Safety on their Phanovision!
www.phillies.com/shevchek CODE- SHEVCHEK
for a $14 discount
PREGAME Tailgate at 11:00 in lot K
Chart & statistics form 10 year study by Shepherd Hospital in Atlanta GA
#tragic #preventable #wecandothis
We are very excited for Lauren's progress at the Neuro Recovery at Barwis Methods. She has greatly improved torso control and has proved communication and activation in her back and gluteus muscles. Her hip flexors are responding to her commands and that activation is exhilarating!
She is now working on standing in her new leg braces. Somewhat like a new born fowl, but in just a few weeks, her proprioception, balance and sense of posture has improved.
All of these improvements are thanks to the generosity of our sustained supporters. There is a way back from paralysis, but it is a slow gradual crawl. Thank you all, immensely for providing this opportunity for Lauren.
Lauren is making amazing strides in Neuro Recovy & we hope to have video posted soon to show you the positive impact your support has made! Next step, literally, is to purchase leg braces!
Please join us on Sunday, 9/13 when the Phils take on the Cubs for a Phillies
SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL SPINAL CORD INJURY AWARENESS MONTH and Lauren would love to share her dive safety video on the stadium's Phanovision. HELP HER SPREAD THE WORD!
With 500 ticket sales under code "Shevchek" her message will go out to thousands of fans.
Register for game until Sat 9/12 - PREGAME tailgate11:30 in Lot K
BYO lunch & libation, snacks provided.
Come on out & see Lauren's progress, thanks to YOU!!
THANK YOU FOR A SUCCESSFUL GOLF FUNDRAISER!
"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." ~ Hellen Keller
- OUR GRATITUDE to all of our SPONSORS for their generous support.
- OUR APPRECIATION to all the local organizations and individuals who donated goods & services.
- OUR GRATEFULNESS for the golfers & dinner guests who attended and to those who donated to the cause.
- A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO OUR VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE; Marci Rose, Kathy & Larry Schmidt, Jen Voutsinas, Christine Bishop, Norma Spiteri, Bill Slough, Cathy Sechowicz, Erica McNamee, Lily Slater, Kathy Schieber, Will McGowen, Jeanne McNamara, Greg Brady, Pat Chirico, Audrey Harris, Sonia Szewczuk, & Mik Shevchek. Your tireless dedication and commitment of volunteerism is a priceless gift!
- OUR THANKFULNESS FOR OUR VOLUNTEER ENTERTAINERS: James Cantor/Pianist, Joe Conklin/Comedian, & John Bishop/MC - you brought such brightness and joy to all.
Together, you made a difference. Together, you achieved the goal of continued neuro-recovery training for Lauren, through December, 2015!!
WITH INFINITE LOVE & GRATITUDE TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU,
Janice, Mik, Lauren & Erika
Thank- you to all of Lauren's many followers. Just an update to let you know that we have SOLD OUT spaces for the golf tournament. Some of you may wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to the fundraising campaign in Lauren's honor in lieu of golfing Please feel free to click the DONATE NOW button. Many thanks!
Here's a link to Lauren's YouTube video: www.youtube.com
THANK YOU 2015 SPONSOR
GEORGE J. ZALLIE and FAMILY
LEN BILIOUS -
SOCCER MAGIC / SOCCER VISION TRAINING
JEFFREY MICHELS - HOFFMAN, MICHELS & STERNBERG LLC
TED & NANCY JOHNSON
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, YARDLEY
NORTHEAST BUILDING PRODUCTS -
JAMES & IRENE POPCHUK
PAT CHIRICO - IN HONOR OF JOE "POP POP" CHIRICO
SAVE A YOUNG LIFE FOUNDATION
MICHELLE LEAF - COMCAST SPOTLIGHT
THE DiBIANCA FAMILY FOUNDATION
TEAMSTERS LOCAL #830, Philadelphia
THE YAGER FAMILY
KEN BRASK & FAMILY - IN HONOR OF 2011-12 CRS SWIM TEAMS
ERIKA TOSCANI - TRANSWESTERN
ROBERT GORDON REALTOR
MIKE MCKENNA & FAMILY
GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH YOUTH GROUP
BETH TURNER & AMY WICKENHEISSER
CREIGHTON AUTO REPAIR
HOLLAND FLOOR COVERING
LITTLE CONSTRUCTION CO. INC
ROBERT SWEED, WEIDEL REALTY
THE NANZ FAMILY
DARE LIVING ASSOCIATES
JOHN ROCK INC.
RICHBORO BEER & SODA
TONY'S BAR & GRILLE
WAYNE KORTE & FAMILY - IN HONOR OF POP VINCENTI
THE SLOUGH FAMILY
NORTH PENN AQUATIC CLUB
THE TAICHER FAMILY
LORRAINE CLARK - IN LOVING MEMORY OF AL CLARK III
ALEXANDER C. CLARK - CROWE WEALTH MANAGEMENT - UBS
THE DANIEL CRAIG FOUNDATION
EXPERT TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATES, Plymouth Mtg
MAGGIO'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
CENTRAL BUCKS AQUATIC CLUB
GEORGE "PACKY" MCFARLAND & FAMILY
TED & LUCY KURMAN
COLONIAL NISSAN, INC
QUAINT OAK BANK
After attending neuro recovery training sessions at Barwis Methods, we are so amazed at the myriad of new sensory and neuro muscular connections that Lauren has made.
For the first time,Lauren can balance in a quad- ped position (all fours) and initiate CRAWLING! The activation in her core, glutes and hip flexor muscles are just astounding. She has time and time again demonstrated the ability to voluntarily move her hips side to side and her pelvis forward and back.
Her brain neuro pathways are communicating past the injury site! This takes my breath away and we are committed to returning to Barwis Methods Injury Recovery Program as soon as we are financially able to.
Lauren was initially told that she would NEVER be able to transfer due to her legs & torso being too long in comparison to her arms. It was such a defeating blow so early on...why even try, she thought?
WELL THAT JUST ISN'T THE CASE!! Lauren is able to transfer with minimal assistance, with merely a safety spot. This is one of many small steps towards independence. One of many more to come with the dynamic training she is exposed to at Barwis Methods Injury Recovery program.
Thank you to Mike and his dedicated staff for believing and thinking out of the traditional box of recovery.
Thank you to all of Lauren's supporters who have made affording this program possible through your generous donations. We are eternally grateful.
- Janice, Lauren & Mik Shevchek
Lauren is training at Barwis Methods in Plymouth, MI. She has been dedicated to their rigorous neurological reengineering program and is making great improvement.
Abdominal, obliques, spinal erectors and glute muscles have all been firing! These all support torso control which Lauren will need in the next phase of standing & walking exercises. These neuromuscular connections are very optimistic.
Our goal is to continue fundraising in order to afford more training here so that she can regain independence and as much motor function, including walking.
Pictured here is Lauren with her sister Erika, trainer Megan, and the man himself, Mike Barwis.
Lauren has made many improvements since her one year post injury date. In June of 2014, Lauren received an upgraded classification in her quadriplegia diagnosis. Her doctor upgraded her from ASIA-A Complete (the worst possible paralysis) to an ASIA-B Incomplete. What that means in layman's terms is that she was now experiencing sensation beneath her injury site.
She is still a "quadriplegic" without full use of her hands, but she now has some sensation returning. Mostly uncomfortable sensations like pain & burning, but we celebrate all sensations in hopes of continued nerve connection; sensory and motor.
The Stim Bike which we purchased last summer, was made possible by the success of Lauren's Angels Golf Fundraiser, held last May. We are so appreciative of those who attended and to those who were our sponsors. Through these funds and monies raised through raffle baskets and silent auctions, we were able to purchase a very expensive piece of rehabilitative equipment that insurance DOES NOT cover!
Thanks to utilizing this machine, Lauren has stayed healthy with no pressure sores and increased circulation. It has even helped her breathing and cardiovascular functions as well.
We are indebted to the many helpers and community businesses and members who donated goods and services. We were so very blessed to have so many helping hands & are extremely grateful for Lily Slater for spearheading the event. A huge task of great proportion and pulled off expertly!!
As we look back, we feel immensely blessed and grateful for such a caring and supportive community.
With Infinite Love & Gratitude,
Phillies vs. Mets -- ticket deadline extended. Due to the overwhelming response to the first block of tickets sold, we were able to open up another section of tickets for sale.
Order your tickets today -- deadline is May 26th!
If you can't attend The Power of One Fundraiser, please consider making a donation. Click on the DONATE NOW button.
Lauren, Always thinking of you. The Mullins Family (Ian Mullins)
In support of Lauren.
Lori Regan Savage
Lauren you are a beautiful person. I stumbled upon you page today, since I met a man that was also injured in a diving accident. ( honesty, I never knew how common this was). As we all count our blessings everyday, I will include you in my prayers for healing. You are an inspiration, stay strong in heart & mind. Much love. G.
You continue to amaze us Lauren! You are always in our thoughts and prayers!
Honoring the brave work of Lauren Shevchek and her family. You Ternyik gals rock!
Stay strong Lauren
Lauren is my hero! She inspires me every time she posts on Facebook.
I would like to volunteer. My phone is 267-229-4606. Thank you
Will be there in spirit! Hit'em long and straight!!!!!
Alice De Fazio
Lauren, I hope you're making a lot of progress in Florida, also making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. I'm thinking about you, and look forward to doing more art when you return! Kathy
The Golf outing was a blast
Michael and I had the privilege of meeting you last night and spending a great half hour getting to know you - an absolute delight. Best of luck to you and wishes for only great things!
You are doing great Lauren! God Bless and keep up the good work! You are amazing!
Lauren, Janice, Mik & Erica, I think of you guys often and pray you are all staying the course. I\'m sure it\'s been a long road, but you have many people who are rooting for you. Take care of yourselves.
I think Lauren has inherited great genes, primarily those of determination. Her great grandfather was an automobile racer. Many years ago he was involved in a horrific crash at the Indianapolis Raceway. He beat the odds! Despite what the dictors told him, he not only walked again (without even a limp) but within two years he was back on the race track. Lauren, you've just begun to surprise the doctors!
Lauren, I just learned of your circumstances and want to donate to help you. Our son was in a horrifying accident 18 months ago and he is recovering. I hope you recover fully. I will put you on my prayer list.
Judge William J. Benz
Lauren, I sent you a note when your accident first happened and was happy to see the article about you in the Courier in July. We live in Newtown, and if I can help some way please let me know. I'm sending a donation to Help Hope Live, but if there's something hands on that I could do, please let me know. My phone number is 215-579-1044, and my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm rooting for you!!! Merry Christmas.
Lauren, I find you to be an inspirational and incredible women. I was excited to read your achievement in standing. We will miss you and your family xmas eve.
Esther,stu and matt
Many thanks to all who supported the fundraising events these past two months. Our volunteers are an integral part of our success and we are eternally grateful to them. Blessed to have return sponsors who believe in our mission of recovery. Inspired by the reception of our charter to help raise dive safety awareness & help PREVENT this devastating injury. Stay safe my friends & remember to have the conversation & share the pledge.
Lauren, You inspire us all! We are so proud of you. Sending much love to you now and always...
Jennifer, Jim, and Adam
We are inspired by your strength and determination.
Heather and Jim Vetter
Dear Lauren, You are a great great source of inspiration. We hope our donation helps you achieve your goal. We love E-Shevs.
The Franklin Family
I am a colleague of your sister, Jennifer, and have been watching your progress from afar since the day after your accident.
You are clearly a remarkable woman and it is so heartening to see how well you are doing! I work for a national organizations of neurosurgeons, and so it is very inspiring to see your enduring spirit.
Best of luck with your progress!
We are truly blessed to have Lauren alive to fight this battle & look forward to her regaining as much independence as is possible over the course of many months into years.
We have been humbled by the outpouring of support from family and friends and our community. In response, we have set up a fundraising campaign at HelpHOPELive for Lauren's uninsured catastrophic injury related expenses. HelpHOPELive assures fiscal accountability of funds raised and tax deductibility for donors.
God Bless and your support however small is truly appreciated.
Janice & Mik Shevchek
Janice & Mik Shevchek
When I read your story on the Newsletter's front page, my heart broke over the devastating injury you survived and the road ahead for you and your awesome parents. Then my heart rejoiced at your survival, the support of your family, friends and community and the smile on your face and courage and hope in your heart. If I wasn't doing my own fundraiser in 2 weeks, I'd send you more than my thoughts and prayers (I'm 4 years post double-lung transplant and searching for help to pay my outrageous medicine costs). Please know that way down in Dixie (Charleston, SC) I'm praying for you with faith and thinking of you with love.
Thank you for your kind words & prayers. Our thoughts and prayers are returned to you and your Mom for her miraculous recovery. Keep the faith and know that things will improve gradually. She is in good hands and if you ever need to talk, we are here.
Janice (Lauren's Mom)
Lauren, we haven't met but I read your story on HelpHOPELive. I am so very sorry about your injury and will keep you in my prayers. It sounds like you have an amazing community that has rallied for you! That's so important!! My mom was in a car accident on March 15 2014 and she is paralyzed with minimal movement in her arms, rehabbing at Magee in Philly. We are surrounding her with love and boosting her spirits as well! One day at a time. All the best to you on your road to recovery.
Keep the faith. People in our community are thinking of you.
Dear Lauren, We learned of your injury from your sister. If you are as determined as Jennifer, which we suspect you are, you will prevail. All the best to you and your family.
Kathy Blake and Bob Ballance
You have such a strong and wonderful spirit and your picture captures it perfectly. All the best during this difficult time.
John, Barb & Kathryn Lee Wilmette, IL
As a Penn Stater, LBSL mom and having had two important people rehab at MaGee, I wish you and your family strength, patience and imporiving good health.
Make checks payable to:
Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Lauren Shevchek
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087
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