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Winter 2018 Injury and Illness Milestones

3,000 Miles for Hope!

In 2016 when he was 22 years old, Orion Owens dove into a lake during a moonlight swim. An unknown danger lurking under the water burst his vertebrae and left him with paralysis from the chest down. One key component of his recovery since has been intensive physical therapy at Craig Hospital.

Despite its enormous benefits both for regaining mobility and easing SCI discomfort, physical therapy is often uncovered by insurance, leaving individuals like Orion with tens of thousands in out-of-pocket costs per year. Orion’s mother, Laura, partnered with Help Hope Live to find a solution: a community-unifying challenge to raise funds and hope.

Through our partnership with SCI advocate and Warrior Mom Kay Ledson, we developed a special 100-Day Step Challenge fundraiser for SCI families. Laura took up the banner, and by rallying friends and neighbors, she charted an unbelievable 2,672.5 miles with a virtual walk across America to mirror Kay’s 3000-mile original Warrior Momz Walk. With participants from across the country and even international walkers, the virtual walk’s global total topped 3,933 miles.

“Thanks to all who logged miles or made pledges raising funds so Orion can continue activity-based exercise therapy! Proof of the power when [we are] united in purpose.” -Laura Owens, Warrior Mom

Hope Lives, Thrives, Swims, and Flips Over

Rachael Short has been living with quadriplegia since 2010. Since her injury, she has been fighting to regain mobility and independence. After eight years of water therapy, Rachael was able to share exciting news recently through a new video: “I am now able to flip over from my stomach onto my back.”

Fundraising has been a key element of her journey, opening the door to physical therapy, home modifications, and accessible transportation. In addition to an annual Relay for Rachael fundraiser, Rachael’s efforts include successful social media outreach: her Facebook Fundraiser raised $10,095 this winter.

“When the doctors tell you that you will not recover two years post-injury, tell them to shove it!” -Rachael Short

Fundraising Goal Smashed!

Megan Zachar Christ sustained a spinal cord injury in July 2015. Once she graduated 2.5 months of intensive rehabilitation, she set her sights on a big goal: purchasing a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike for use at home. Electrodes attached to her legs would stimulate her muscles, reducing the risk of atrophy and spasms and improving her circulation.

By mid-2018, Megan had purchased her home FES bike, begun paying off a power wheelchair with an invaluable standing function, and pursued additional physical therapy. By the end of 2018, she had smashed through her initial $30,000 fundraising goal. The funds she raises in 2019 will contribute to ongoing physical therapy, mobility aids, and medical essentials.

New Family Member!

A surfer who sustained a spinal cord injury while diving into the ocean, Kevin Kroushinsky has been fundraising with Help Hope Live since 2006. Kevin had a special announcement to share in early December: he and his squad welcomed shelter dog Paco into their family.

One of Kevin’s fundraising staples is a regular eblast authored by his longtime friend Jennifer Evans. ICYMI, Jen let us in on her email drafting secrets in a recent Blog post!

“The minute they saw him, they knew he was the one.”

Look out for new Injury and Illness Milestones each season at or click the tiles below to see prior milestone posts.

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