Goodman Campbell Sponsors Our ‘Brackets For Good’ Campaign: Why It Matters To Me

Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine, one of the largest and most trusted neurosurgery practices in the country, has teamed with NeuroHope in the 2017 Brackets For Good fundraising tournament!

Their endorsement of our mission is especially important to me personally.  Their practice has treated thousands of patients at 16 locations across Indiana, and each has placed total trust in Goodman Campbell’s standard of care during the most frightening time in their life.  One of those patients was me.

At 9:00 PM on Sunday, August 8th 2010,  I was laying in an ICU paralyzed from the neck down.

Hours earlier, a man inadvertently landed on my head as we jumped into a river near Edinburgh, Indiana.  Four vertebrae in my neck were fractured and my spinal cord was crushed.  I never lost consciousness.  I never even felt a twinge of pain.   I was clear-headed as my body was dragged to the beach, and completely lucid during the wait for paramedics and for the helicopter flight to downtown Indianapolis. I remember being wheeled through the hospital and into my MRI scan as if it happened yesterday.

When the whirlwind of the first few hours was over, I found myself staring at the ceiling tiles of Methodist Hospital trying process what had happened.  I knew nothing about spinal cord injury and I had no way to comprehend the lengthy rehabilitation process that was in front of me.  At the time, I only wanted to know what was supposed to happen next.  

Dr. Saad Khairi, a top neurosurgeon at Goodman Campbell, dropped what he was doing that night and rushed to Methodist Hospital when he received the call.   My mother was in the ICU with me when he walked through the door.  He told us that my neck had to be stabilized and that my C2 through C6 vertebrae had to be fused immediately.  Receiving news like that is a lot to handle.

How long until I go under? Do I ask for a second opinion? Am I even at the right hospital? Who is this surgeon that will have my life in his hands?  

In a matter of minutes we were on the phone asking three separate people in the healthcare world for advice.  Each said the same thing.  We were in the right place and Dr. Khairi was the surgeon to have.  Within an hour the fusion was underway.

The next several days were the most challenging – physically and mentally –  of my life.  Immediately after surgery, I needed a ventilator to breath.  My lungs were filled with secretions and I had to learn how to breathe again before I could even think about the rest of my paralyzed body.  As the days passed, I began to experience what life as a quadriplegic would entail. Therapists ranged my limbs, nurses re-positioned my body every two hours, and a team of people attended to everything I needed from feeding, to shaving, to bathing.  As reality set in, I needed to know every detail about my injury, and my chance of recovery.

I flagged down Dr. Khairi whenever I could, and he stood at my side to answer every question I had. He empathized with me and I could tell he wanted to educate me on my injury.  Two days after surgery, I could flex a single muscle in my thigh and I had spotty sensation in my extremities.  Dr. Khairi said that meant signals from my brain were making their way (in some capacity) down my injured spinal cord.  It was my first lesson in neurorecovery, and my first glimmer of hope.

A week later he came to my bed as I was being discharged to the rehabilitation hospital. Once again, I wanted to know what to expect.  Every spinal cord injured individual asks the same question when they are hurt: “Will I walk again?”   In the immediate aftermath of the injury, we’re naive to the complexities of the injury and the magnitude of the struggle ahead.  We don’t understand normalized blood pressure, a neurogenic bladder, or muscle spasticity.  Our minds jump right to the big picture – walking.

Dr. Khairi calmly said that he couldn’t give me an answer. My injury was severe and the odds were against it, but he told me, “Kick your tail in rehab, and we’ll see where you are in a year”.

It was the most exhausting year of my life.  I spent two months at a rehab hospital, four months at a nursing home, and six more months at an outpatient clinic across the country.  Finally, in August of 2011, I wheeled into Goodman Campbell for a one-year check-up.  With my wheelchair parked in the lobby, I rose to my feet and walked into Dr. Khairi’s office to let him know I took his advice.

“Every once in awhile, I have a rock-star patient that blows the doors off the statistics,” he said.

The appointment didn’t need to be long.  It was a check-up to make sure that my spinal fusion had healed properly.  But, I had learned a lot about spinal cord injury and the recovery process, and I had a laundry list of new questions to ask.  Once again, he took the time to answer every one.  He pulled out a tablet and showed me detailed images of the fusion, and even took the time to dig up my original MRI and X-ray from the day of the accident.

In 2011, my rehab was far from over.  I continued aggressive therapy for another year.  Even today, my daily routine revolves around combating my disability.  But, Dr. Khairi and Goodman Campbell played an integral role in my recovery and my early education after a life-altering event.  They supported me, and I’m honored that they support the “rock-star” patients at NeuroHope as well.


NeuroHope Wins 2017 “Health Care Heroes” Award

The physical therapy team at NeuroHope has been named “Top Honoree” for Community Achievement at the 2017 Health Care Heroes Awards!

The annual event, presented by the Indianapolis Business Journal, took place during an elegant breakfast at the Conrad Hilton to recognize doctors, hospitals, community programs, and volunteers who are devoted to bettering health care in Indiana. NeuroHope was humbled to be among the nominees, and honored to take home the top prize in Community Achievement.

Read the article in the Indianapolis Business Journal here!

Director of Therapy Nora Foster accepted the award, flanked at the podium by her amazing team of Sara Sale and Donna Peterson. These ladies are the heart and sole of NeuroHope. Two years ago, they took a leap of faith to join me in a daunting task. As highly trained therapists in neurologic injury, they recognized a void in care in the healthcare landscape, and from a purely altruistic motive, decided to help address it. Their effort has led to the creation of a clinic where injured individuals can continue affordable physical therapy and wellness programs to maximize their recovery process and improve long-term quality of life.

Every clinic revolves around the standard of care it provides its patients. That standard begins and ends with the knowledge, skill, and compassion its clinicians provide. There is no team of therapists I would rather have leading NeuroHope than Nora, Donna and Sara. I witness their work every day, and I’ve experienced it first hand. For me, it’s personal.

Donna and Sara were two of the first therapists that worked with me following my spinal cord injury 7 years ago.   Paralyzed from the neck down, I was admitted to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana two weeks after my injury to begin the grueling recovery process. Donna was assigned to my case. I knew nothing about spinal cord injury. I knew nothing about the complications my body was experiencing, and I was completely in the dark about my chances for recovery. I was a floating head on a pillow with no concept of the journey that lay ahead.

Inpatient therapists are tasked with a difficult role. Doctors slam their patients with a whirlwind of information and a glimpse of their diagnosis, but therapists are on the front lines to pick up the pieces. They are the first clinicians to spend extensive time and offer hope to injured individuals. Their job is to implement a physical recovery plan, but they unwittingly become counselors, teachers, and mentors as well.

Donna was with me every day for the first eight weeks of the most trying period of my life. Sara participated in a few of my early sessions as well. At a time when therapy was spent ranging my limbs, and contracting a single muscle was a major victory, they pushed me, educated me, and took the time to answer every question I had about my injury. Most importantly, they cared deeply about my progress. They were on the journey with me. Seven years later we are on a remarkable journey again.

Nora gives the same devotion to each and every one of her patients. It is a pleasure to watch her work, and an honor to have her leading the services at NeuroHope. When I met her three years ago, NeuroHope was only an idea. The vision was planted in my head, but without the right clinician, the roots of NeuroHope would never take hold.   I needed a therapist skilled and passionate about neurologic recovery, with the “fire-in-the-belly” to help will NeuroHope into existence. I’m honored to have found her.

I can not imagine three individuals more deserving of their “Hero” recognition. Not just for their role in creating NeuroHope, but for the lives they have touched throughout their entire careers.

Help Us Win $10K in Brackets For Good!

NeuroHope has been selected to participate in the 2017 Brackets For Good fundraising tournament!

This is the only “sport” for nonprofits and anyone can join our team to help us win a $10,000 grand prize!  Modeled after the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament, 64 charities compete in weekly head-to-head fundraising match-ups. The winners advance all the way to the championship.

It starts Friday, February 24th!

Check out Chris at the Indianapolis bracket release pep rally, and learn about the tournament:

Each round lasts one week.  Once the tournament begins anyone can follow the real-time scoreboard, view the bracket, and donate online through the link below.  You can also donate easily by TEXTING “NeuroHope” to 27722.

So, stay tuned throughout the tournament!  Follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter, and share them all so we can spread the word!

NeuroHope Nominated for 2017 Health Care Heroes Award

NeuroHope_TherapistsThe physical therapy team at NeuroHope has been selected as one of three nominees in “Community Achievement” for the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2017 Health Care Heroes Award!

NeuroHope was created three years ago because of a simple realization: Many patients recovering from neurologic injury are discharged from rehabilitation too soon with no place to continue their recovery.  Insurance caps therapy coverage after only a few months and traditional healthcare clinics are unable to continue treatment at an affordable out-of-pocket rate.

NeuroHope’s Director of Therapy, Nora Foster (DPT), and her team of Donna Peterson (PTA) and Sara Sale (DPT) have embarked on a path to fill this void in care. From a purely altruistic motive, and with no experience in healthcare administration, they became devoted to creating a clinic that operates beyond traditional, insurance-based services.

NeuroHope integrates insurance visits with extremely discounted private-pay rates in order to provide patients with long-term care. This involves combining aggressive therapy with wellness goals to maximize recovery and improve quality of life.

In two short years, NeuroHope’s vision has proven successful. The team has created a non-profit outpatient healthcare clinic from scratch, become credentialed with Medicare/Medicaid and commercial insurance, and works with the Krannert School of Physical Therapy at the University of Indianapolis to provide students with Internship and volunteer opportunities.   NeuroHope’s patient-centric model was also the catalyst behind a 2015 change in Indiana law to help fund long-term rehabilitation programs.

Most importantly, Nora and her team have helped 36 patients, ranging from spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy on along their road to recovery.

This recognition is well-deserved for Nora, Sara, and Donna.  Not only for the work they have done to launch NeuroHope, but for the devotion they have shown to all of their patients over the their entire careers.

The 2017 Health Care Heroes Awards will be presented at a special IBJ breakfast at the Hilton Conrad on Friday, March 3rd.

Click here for more information.



UIndy Intern Jake Roop Joins our Team!

We announce interns with blog posts around here, so it’s my pleasure to welcome Jake Roop on-board!

Jake is no stranger to NeuroHope.  He was one of our first student volunteers and has been a fantastic help to our therapy team for the last ten months.  His internship lasts until May, after which, he will earn his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis on Pre-Physical Therapy.

Jake is a native of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, was a member of the UIndy football team, and will be attending the Krannert School of Physical Therapy at the University of Indianapolis this the fall.

Welcome Jake!


NeuroHope Awarded $36,000 Grant from OrthoIndy Foundation!

I’m thrilled to announce that NeuroHope is the recipient of a $36,000 program grant from the OrthoIndy and Indiana Orthopedic Hospital Foundation!  This generous gift is made possibly by the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF).  We are honored to have their support!

The OrthoIndy Foundation was created in 2012 with a mission to improve mobility and function for residents of Central Indiana.  The Foundation supports local programs that work specifically to increase self-sufficiency, promote wellness, and improve the quality of life for individuals in need.

NeuroHope centers its program on providing supplemental physical therapy services for individuals living with and recovering from neurologic injury.  Most patients attend NeuroHope because their insurance coverage has been capped.  These individuals need extended therapy and more time with specialists to work on goals that maximize recovery and improve their quality of life.   NeuroHope offers drastically discounted private-pay rates so that individuals have an affordable option to continue the care they need.

This award from the OrthoIndy Foundation helps fund the supplementary care we provide, and will ensure our program remains strong in 2017!

Physical Therapist Wendy Ahler Joins Our Team!

We are thrilled to announce that Physical Therapist Wendy Ahler has joined our staff!

Wendy is a graduate of Purdue University and earned her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis in 1994.  She has spent her clinical career working in a variety of settings including inpatient sub acute and acute rehabilitation, outpatient with an emphasis in neurological rehabilitation , inpatient medical surgical, and inpatient heart and vascular.

Wendy and her husband Steve live in Fishers and have two children.  She enjoys spending time outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and playing with her two dogs.

Welcome aboard Wendy!

NeuroHope Wins Inaugural ‘Care Innovation’ Award

emeraldgala_neurohope_redcarpet_croppedNeuroHope was thrilled and humbled to be honored by the Foundation for Complex Healthcare Solutions as the first ever recipient of the Care Innovation Award!

NeuroHope Founder and Executive Director Chris Leeuw accepted the award at the sold-out Emerald Gala at the Eiteljorg Museum on September 16th.

The Foundation for Complex Healthcare Solutions supports programs in central Indiana that are devoted to providing effective and efficient care for high-cost patients.  Their goal is to help organizations develop better ways to care for the most expensive healthcare conditions.  The Foundation is a supporter of NeuroHope’s mission to provide extended, affordable care for individuals recovering from traumatic injury, and its Board of Directors unanimously chose NeuroHope to be the inaugural recipient of the award.

emeraldgala_host“Spinal cord injury, brain injury, and stroke are extremely high cost injuries from the perspective of insurers and healthcare providers”, Leeuw said to attendees.  “As a result, time spent in recovery at the inpatient and outpatient level is limited.  Two-thirds of neurologically injured individuals are re-admitted to the hospital within one year of discharge.  At NeuroHope, we are creating a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation that blends physical therapy with affordable wellness programs to maximize recovery and improve quality of life.”

Since NeuroHope opened in February of 2015, the clinic has partnered with the University of Indianapolis, hired physical therapists, become credentialed with Medicare / Medicaid and commercial insurance, and was the catalyst behind a change in Indiana law to fund affordable recovery programs.  Most importantly, it has helped 31 patients on their road to recovery.

The clinic’s launch and early success would not be possible without support from forward-thinking entities like the Foundation for Complex Healthcare Solutions, which help NeuroHope offset the cost of the supplementary care it provides its patients.

It was a night to be remembered at the Eiteljorg, and NeuroHope was truly privileged for the recognition!











July 27 – Save the Date: 2nd Annual Open House!

It has been an eventful 2016 at NeuroHope! With your support and generosity our clinic has become a reality.

Celebrate with us! NeuroHope will host its 2nd Annual Open House on the evening of Wednesday July 27th!
(6:00 – 8:00 in the gym at 901 Shelby Street in Fountain Square)

Mike_frame_borderPlease join us for a brief evening of food, drinks, prizes, and recognition of the amazing staff, clients, and donors that have helped NeuroHope come to fruition. You are part of a movement that has created a functioning and innovative outpatient healthcare clinic from scratch. That’s right! I said OUTPATIENT!

We are now officially certified with Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies to become the FIRST and ONLY outpatient clinic in Indianapolis that provides extended care and affordable rates for patients.

We are thrilled to be able to accept insurance, but unlike traditional healthcare providers, our care goes well beyond what insurance allows. We aren’t afraid to sacrifice a higher-paying insurance reimbursement for an affordable private-pay rate.

This is what makes us unique. And, this is why our rent-free relationship with the University of Indianapolis, and support from donors like you is so important.

Santos_standing_cropped_borderStrides over the last year:

  • Expanded into new space on the 3rd floor of the Southeast Community Services Building
  • Secured new therapy mats, parallel bars, and standing frames for our clients
  • Worked with 23 clients since we opened doors!
  • Credentialed with CMS and private insurance
  • Press! Read our Indianapolis Monthly article here. And our IBJ write-up here.

We are also proud to have been the catalyst behind a change in Indiana law that will help fund long-term rehab programs such as ours in the future!

We hope to be successful in securing a state grant that will let us open full-time in the next year, but in the meantime, we remain in fundraising mode to keep our services strong.

So, please continue to spread the word!  Bridge funding will be a key to our success.

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you on July 27th!

We Welcome Our First UIndy Intern!

We are pleased to welcome aboard our first intern from the University of Indianapolis!
Chris Lanning is a senior Exercise Science / Pre-Physical Therapy major at UIndy and will be with us until May as he completes his undergraduate degree.  He has worked as a PT-aide at Indy Pro Care Physical Therapy, and has prior internship experience at Methodist Medical Plaza.

Chris will be attending Trine University to pursue his Doctorate in Physical Therapy this fall.  We are happy to have him!