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Dear Friends and Family,

Our special Cameron Zick has suffered a very serious neck injury on Saturday 5/23 at 3pm. Several of us were hiking the Blue Lakes Trail on Mount Sneffles near Ridgway, CO when the injury occurred. After hiking for four hours, we were standing on a large boulder near the summit and surrounded by freshly fallen snow in all directions. While hanging out on the boulder on the summit, Cameron fell off the rock into the snow, hitting his head first as he landed. He went in at such a forceful angle that the immediate impact of the snow was enough to snap his neck.

Updates (30)

August 20, 2015

We raised $6,000 in net profit for Cameron last night!

Thanks to everyone who supported Cameron at our event, whether you celebrated with us last night, donated through the webpage, or bought raffle tickets from afar. What a great night for an amazing guy!

– Courtney and Lori

June 29, 2015


One of the best lessons I’ve had along this journey came in the second week of rehab in ICU. I complained about pain and stiffness that I hadn’t felt before to my doctors/therapists. They responded with, “new pain is a good sign. Pain and soreness means your body function is coming back and neurons are firing again.”

I can run with this perspective. What a great way to frame and overcome pain. The fact that I have feeling in my limbs in the first place is a miracle – I should celebrate a body ache. I’m not perfect at it, but I’ve tried to apply this mindset elsewhere:

1) Some have asked, “How miserable was the ICU and the hospital in Grand Junction?” I’d rather consider it a necessary evil to my full recovery. They performed a flawless surgery, saved my life, and got me back up on my feet.

2) I’m continuing to progress my physical and functional skills, but while I’m pinned to a wheelchair, I’m forced to focus on the one task in front of me. Early on, it was frustrating having to ask others to feed me. This past week, I was annoyed when I couldn’t bend down to pick up a tissue box on the floor. But at the end of the day, these experiences are teaching me patience. Learning how to walk and function as a human being again are far greater obstacles than some of the minute details we stress over in life, work, and relationships. What can ever phase me once I’ve completed my recovery?

3) I’ve progressed rapidly in 2-3 weeks at RIC, but it’s relative when I look outside at Chicago. I get frustrated and jealous when I see families carrying groceries together, young couples running to catch an Uber, and friends swimming in Lake Michigan. It’s a tease now, but I use this as motivation to rehab as quickly and efficiently as possible, so that I can get back to an independent lifestyle.

Which leads me to the big news from this week: after two weeks of evaluations, my doctors and therapists at RIC have given me a tentative discharge date of July 22nd – four weeks from now. This timeline is a moving target, but in a month or so, I’ll continue intensive outpatient rehab, 5-7 days a week for 5-8 hours a day, while living in a home. The timing came as a surprise to my family and me. Our hand might be forced by insurance, but I want to make sure I get the most out of my rehab in this building. I’m eager to perfect a lot of my skills here at RIC, not just be able to complete tasks with help or in 5x the time.

With that said, I’m forcing myself to take a step back – it’s incredible to think I could be walking out of these doors 9 weeks since breaking my neck. Four weeks ago, I needed a conveyer swing to lift me out of bed. Four weeks from now, my doctors/therapists project I’lll be able to move around my house with a walker or cane.

The speediness of my recovery isn’t unheard of, but it’s extremely uncommon for an incomplete C6 spinal cord injury. Last week, I spent time perfecting my form and coordination with a walker. I was able to take a full lap around the hospital floor (over 420 feet) without a break. In the accompanying video, I’m simulating the use of a cane with an arm stilt and a harness to hold me up. In my pool therapy class on Wednesday, I tested walking without any devices. This is an amazingly liberating feeling – the water virtually keeps you afloat, so you can’t fall. It’s a great way to practice movements I can’t yet perform on land. I also begged my trainer to let me try jogging. It was more like falling forward over my toes, over and over again For the first time, my therapist brought me into the community to walk. The real world presents different obstacles you can’t simulate in a hospital, like cracks/sloped streets and cars. I hope to ramp this type of training up, as I prepare for outpatient therapy.

I’m looking into a number of programs in California and Chicago for outpatient therapy. If you have any suggestions, success stories, or connections with rehab facilities, please let me know! To help with future rehab/living costs, close friends of mine will planning a few fun fundraising events across the country (potentially in Chicago and NYC) where loved ones and friends can come show support and help in the road to recovery. More to come on the details of my outpatient plans and future fundraising events. In the meantime, thank you again for your support and love as I gear up for this transition. I cannot imagine making this next step without you all!

Much love,


June 28, 2015

You are our inspiration and our hero....We know that your travels down this new road will not be easy, but we know with your strength and determination you will will conquer all the odds. We dedicate this Robert Frost poem to you. THE ROAD NOT TAKEN Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

We love you, Grandma Carol & Grandpa Mike

June 28, 2015

Hi Cam, Wishing you the best, your strength is so inspiring. I'm sure you will meet your goals because of your determination and all the loving support you have around you. Take care and hope to see you soon.

Oralia Chavez-Keller

June 28, 2015

Hey Zick--thinking about you and your family. You are an incredible inspiration and I want you to know we all care about you!

Ben King

June 28, 2015

I came across your story. I don't know you but I can tell you are a strong person, physically and mentally. I wish you a fast recovery.

Anahita Shafa