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At the age of 42, on 09/30/2010 my life changed forever. What started out as a beautiful morning turned into a nightmare. I was headed out for a long weekend before beginning Internet classes on webpage design. I felt I had finally found my niche, being creative and also loving the Internet, it seemed like the perfect fit. But that was not to be. Instead, in a freak car accident, I found myself headed to a trauma unit with a broken neck. I had broken my C4 and C5 vertebrae leaving me paralyzed from the shoulders down. At the time of the accident I could not afford health insurance since I was between jobs. I spent nearly eight weeks in the trauma unit and another eight weeks at Shepherd Center rehab facility. I was extremely lucky to have landed there. As it was, my family had to scramble just to get me into the state Medicaid program. As of now, we are still battling just to keep me on Medicaid. I have always worked, sometimes without insurance coverage, but more often with good coverage. I migrated south from New England , in 2005 to South Carolina and finally, in 2008 to Florida to be closer to my sister. Never did I expect to find myself in one of her spare rooms, in a rented hospital bed. I have always been independent and my goal is to reach that status again!

Throughout this new and difficult path I find myself on, I have never once given in to doubt or self-pity. Those things only serve to destroy any chance of moving forward and regaining a life. I have made incredible progress since being home but having only the state Medicaid, my access to outpatient therapy and physicians/specialists that I need is extremely limited. There are also other things that we as a family need help with, such as more in-home care, assistive devices, and continued therapy. Given my progress so far it is very likely that I will regain independence. As I move forward. I have no intention of giving up my goal of having a more creative career. And now, with all that I’ve experienced and learned since my accident, I have a new passion to help people and raise awareness. There is much research being done with regards to spinal cord injury and rehabilitation. But unlike other catastrophic illnesses that befall people, spinal injuries are not common enough that the so-called “market” can benefit from making treatments and therapies easily available. Help for us more often comes from private funding, donations, and overall fund-raising. More can be done, I believe this. The science and technology is out there. We just need to be a louder squeaky wheel!
Thank You, everyone, your love and support is what keeps me moving forward.


March 27, 2022

My dear cousin Cherie, whom I have always loved so. You epitomize the true spirit of what our family stands for with your degree of courage and optimism ! I can only draw strength from your ambition and your will ! You will prevail because your last name is Stannard !! Always remember your family will support you no matter what !

Ron Weatherbee

November 18, 2015

Dear Cherie, mailed in our annual donation, hope these help. I haven't heard anything about you from anyone, but of course it's my own fault. I'll call Sue and you soon. Best wishes and have a happy holiday season. Love,

Uncle Ev

November 24, 2014

Hey love . Hope u are well. Sending love your way xoxox

Alli golden