Vote NeuroHope for Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader’s $10,000 Community Challenge!

The Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders have launched a “Community Impact Challenge” and NeuroHope needs YOUR VOTE to win a $10,000 grant!

Each member of the Colts cheer squad has picked a charity and a program to support.  NeuroHope is honored to have been selected by Vanessa Wahl, a Greenwood native in her second year with team, who shares our passion to provide affordable rehab for people living with and recovering from paralysis.

Vanessa’s campaign will help NeuroHope fund a re-vamped wellness program and will be a MAJOR boost to our services!  $10,000 comes down to your VOTES! Just a moment of your time can help change lives at NeuroHope.

Click here to vote! Scroll to the very bottom of the page and select “Vanessa – NeuroHope”, and spread the word!

Vote EARLY AND OFTEN! Polls close on December 16, 2018.  The winning project will be announced at the Indianapolis Colts vs New York Giants game on December 23!

Epidural Stimulation Study Allows Three More Paralyzed People to Take Steps

In September, a breakthough in epidural stimulation research made global headlines.  The New England Journal of Medicine published work from The Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville, which announced that four paralyzed people regained the ability to walk after being implanted with a stimulation device and undergoing months of physical training.
Now, a new study published in Nature and Nature Neuroscience has revealed similar results in three more spinal cord injured subjects.
Epidural stimulation involves surgery that implants a set of electrodes directly on to a person’s injured spinal cord.  A power pack is also implanted underneath the person’s skin.  When the device is turned on, the spinal cord is stimulated and messages are sent to the body that bypass the injury.  (Above photo credit: The Guardian)
Dr. Susan Harkema, Director of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network (NRN), was first behind epidural stimulation 8 years ago that restored function in multiple people with motor complete spinal cord injury.   Over the last several years her research has expanded and major milestones have been met.  First, epidural stimulation provided the ability to stand.  Then, bits of voluntary and task-specific movement were discovered.   Finally, unassisted STEPS took place.
All of these successes were performed in labs, and were combined with an incredible amount of time and repetition, but the results are fascinating, and the knowledge is still in its infancy.
NeuroHope joined the Reeve Foundation NRN earlier this year.  As a result, we are now one of a select number of sites in the world that is using what has been discovered about the unique electrical parameters in the implants, and investigating if it can be translated to Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) over the skin.  NMES is similar to Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), but uses pre-programmed, task specific activities set at exclusive FDA-approved parameters that are aimed at targeting both the muscle and the circuitry of the spinal cord itself.
It is not yet known if NMES has the ability to promote neurorecovery, but we are proud to begin data collection for the NRN and thankful for the opportunity to offer it in a plan of care for our clients.

“Swing Fore Hope” Scramble Raises $15,000!

It was an AWESOME afternoon at NeuroHope’s  inaugural “Swing Fore Hope” charity golf scramble!  The rain and thunderstorms held off (somehow), and we had a great turnout.  30 Teams! 26 sponsors!  Thank you to all who spent the afternoon with us at The Fort Golf Resort.

A special thanks goes to Hensley Legal Group PC for helping to organize the festivities, Delta Faucet, who featured a faucet and shower head give-away, Andy Mohr Buick GMC, and our headlining sponsors The Incrediplex and Valeo Financial.

Shout out to our generous hole sponsors as well: Goodman Campbell Brain & Spine, Systemax Corporation, Leeuw Oberlies & Campbell PC, Langdon Shaw Associates, Scopelitis Garvin Light Hanson & Feary PC, hc1.com, Heidi Orth, Indie Asset Partners LLC, BATS Wireless, Bright Ideas in Broadripple, Kareo, Restorative Therapies Inc., Community Rehabilitation Hospital, ClaimAid, The National Bank of Indianapolis, Sparenberg Farms, Lannie Thompson: FC Tucker, Rehabilitation Associates of Indiana, Circle City Reporting, Mirazon, Jordan Lemons Construction, National Seating and Mobility, Sunrise Medical, David Bruce: State Farm, NuStep.

We had a fantastic time with a “Longest Drive”, “Closest-to-the-pin”, and “Tournament Champion”, along with raffles and an autographed racing suit courtesy of IndyCar driver Marco Andretti!  Together, we raised $15,000! Not to shabby for our first ever outing.

 


 

Chris Leeuw Awarded “Rosenbaum Friend of Physical Therapy” from INAPTA

NeuroHope Founder and Executive Director Chris Leeuw was presented with the 2018 “William T. Rosenbaum Friend of Physical Therapy” award by the Indiana chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY on September 22.

From the INAPTA: “The award is presented to honor and recognize the accomplishments of those persons outside our profession who, through their dedicated assistance and support, have promoted our ideals and improved our profession.”

Leeuw was nominated and presented with the award by Donna Peterson, who was recognized as the Schneider PTA of the Year in 2017.  Peterson was Leeuw’s primary therapist during his two month inpatient rehabilitation following his 2010 spinal cord injury.  Five years later, she joined NeuroHope when Leeuw and physical therapist Nora Foster first launched the clinic to provide long-term, affordable therapy for neurologic injuries.

Peterson’s remarks:

“Chris Leeuw’s life changed in an instant when a little over 8 years ago, a perfect late summer day and adventure left him paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a C4-C5 SCI. I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting Chris during the early days of this journey as one of his first physical therapists in acute rehabilitation.  I knew then that Chris, along with his family, had a special drive that the injury and the status quo of the health care system would not contain.

 Fortunately for Chris, he demonstrated early signs that his injury was incomplete and his potential for recovery was great. What he was lacking was time, as insurance was pushing for discharge from acute rehab and the intensive therapy that his injury indicated.  Chris and his family, not taking “no” or “that’s how the system works”, as an answer fought for an alternative and found a program in Utah that offered affordable, long term rehabilitation options. Chris thrived in this environment and was able to make huge strides in his recovery. Upon his return to Indiana, Chris vowed to make a difference and began his quest to develop and provide a similar option in Indiana and change the paradigm of rehabilitation and wellness for individuals affected by and living with paralysis in Indiana.  

That’s how NeruoHope was born. In the months and years that followed, Chris worked tirelessly to fund and open NeuroHope in February 2015, a non-profit outpatient clinic with a mission to provide affordable, activity-based therapy to people living with and recovering from neurologic injury.

In the last few years, not only has Chris opened NeuroHope, but he has been instrumental in changing legislation that allows funding for long term rehabilitation and wellness, promoted awareness of the needs of those with neurological injuries, been a mentor, inspiration and friend to patients and supporters of Neurohope, facilitated the strategic affiliation with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network as a one of only 7 Community Fitness and Wellness Centers in the U.S.,  and lead multiple fundraising efforts which have allowed Neurohope to expand to offset the costs in providing services to countless individuals.  On top of that, his most outstanding achievement was hiring me. 

In all seriousness, I have been honored to have the unique opportunity to watch Chris battle his personal physical challenges with SCI, but take an idea and turn it into reality that benefits countless individuals.   I knew early on, that Chris would always look for a new road, a new way, and never stop striving to be the best version of himself.  Chris, through his relentless pursuit of his vision, has provided others with the opportunity to become the best version of themselves and allow them every possible chance for maximum recovery and the best quality of life possible.

I am honored to present Chris Leeuw, my former patient, current boss and long-time friend with the 2018 Bill Rosenbaum Friend of PT Award.”

Client Spotlight: Ryan Bardellini

Less than one year ago, Ryan Bardellini was enjoying his senior year at the International School of Indiana. A standout fencer and student, Ryan’s future plans involved looking at colleges and planning his future. Ryan’s life changed in November of 2017. He was involved in a serious accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. Ryan was in the hospital for three months, and at an inpatient rehabilitation facility for a few weeks. After his insurance coverage ran out, however, Ryan was discharged, and his recovery slowed.

“He went from having intensive therapy five days a week to being limited to 2 or 3 weekly visits,” says Ryan’s mother Kimberly. “He wasn’t ready to be discharged [from daily therapy], he needed much more.”

Through their own research for resources available to people with brain or spinal cord injuries, the Bardellini’s found NeuroHope to supplement the outpatient visits he was receiving at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI).

Ryan began coming to NeuroHope on days he did not have sessions at RHI so he could receive the most therapy and exercise he could during the critical first year after his injury. In March of 2018, Ryan was still significantly paralyzed on his right side and was just re-learning to take small steps with a walker. NeuroHope’s therapists and trainers have paid particular attention to his weaknesses and fragile gait pattern over the last 6 months, and have pushed him through vibration plate balancing, electrical stimulation, treadmill training, and core exercises.

By May of 2018, Ryan had gained significant return on his right side and had become strong enough to walk on his own across the stage at his high school graduation. Ryan’s journey, attitude, and hard work have been nothing short of inspiring. He has come far in his life-changing journey, but he is not finished yet. Today, he continues to work with NeuroHope’s trainers, who push him to continue to improve his balance, coordination, and overall strength. And college plans are right around the corner! He’s been accepted to Purdue University and is taking his first class this semester with an eye on returning as a full-time student soon.

As an accomplished fencer – his next goal is get back back on the strip!

 

“Swing Fore Hope” Golf Scramble – September 24th!

Mark your calendars for Monday, September 24!

We are thrilled to announce our 1st Annual “Swing Fore Hope” Golf Scramble to benefit NeuroHope, sponsored by Hensley Legal Group, PC. The action starts at noon at The Fort Golf Resort at Fort Harrison State Park!

Enjoy an end-of-summer Monday hitting the links, enjoy a free lunch, and take a run at some prizes – all to benefit NeuroHope!  Scramble rules apply, which means each team plays their best stroke every shot.  No matter your golfing skills, you are guaranteed a good time!

– Individual player: $65
– Foursome: $250

We are seeking event and individual hole sponsors!  For sponsorship opportunities click here, and contact Ryan Kreicker at: [email protected]

Learn more about the outing and register online by clicking here!

Or, download an entry form and mail in your registration by clicking here!

Can’t make it, but would LOVE to show your support?! Donate here!

NeuroHope Wins $5,000 as an Impact 100 Finalist!

Impact 100 is a charitable women’s giving circle that awards high impact grants to Indianapolis nonprofits in five specialized areas: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Family, and Health & Wellness.

In a highly competitive selection process, one charity from each area emerges as a finalist eligible for a grand prize of $100,000.

Although we didn’t take home the top prize, NeuroHope is honored to be named the 2018 finalist in “Health & Wellness”!  At a presentation at the Ritz Charles we were awarded $5,000 to help continue our mission of affordable rehabilitation following neurologic injury!

It’s all thanks to a fantastic giving circle that is truly IMPACTING our entire community.  Learn more about Impact 100 by clicking here.

NeuroHope’s Speech at Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Conference

NeuroHope Executive Director Chris Leeuw was one of seven speakers at the 2018 Indiana Traumatic Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Conference, held April 18th at the IU Health Neuroscience Center in downtown Indianapolis.

The annual conference is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Health to showcase projects that have been made possible thanks to support from the Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Fund.

Leeuw’s talk focused on NeuroHope’s expansion and the mission to provide affordable, activity-based therapy to people living with and recovering from neurologic injury.  He also discussed NeuroHope’s recent invitation to join the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network (NRN), and the research that is collected at NRN sites across the U.S.

Full transcription of the presentation:

“Good afternoon!   My name is Chris Leeuw, Director of NeuroHope.   Nora Foster, NeuroHope’s Director of Therapy, is here with us also.

We are honored and thankful to share the NeuroHope story with everyone. This presentation will be different than others today, because the support we received from the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Fund was not STRICTLY to fund research. Data collection is a part of what we do, but the primary purpose of the two-year grant we received has been to help our charity NeuroHope expand its very specific mission: to make long-term therapy and exercise programs available for people recovering from traumatic injury after insurance expires, and to do so in a way that is affordable and accessible for the patients that need it.

Nora and I opened NeuroHope 3 years ago in a part-time gym with the help of the University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy.  We understood first-hand that it takes a long time to recover from most neurologic injuries.   And, we understood that since healthcare is dictated by insurance reimbursement, patients are discharged from inpatient rehab too soon.  Sometimes, discharge is within a matter of weeks, after which, patients are given a limited amount of outpatient PT/OT visits to continue their recovery, which is simply not enough. It is not enough time.  It is not enough access.

I lived through the process as a patient.  In 2010 I suffered an incomplete C4 spinal cord injury that initially left me a total quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. I’m standing here today because my injury turned out to be less severe than many.  I was very fortunate in my recovery.  But, even in my situation it to took two years of daily, aggressive therapy to maximize my recovery.  I was at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana for my inpatient stay, where I had outstanding care.  I did not want to leave. I stayed there for 8 weeks, which is much LONGER than most patients, because I was showing slow signs of progress.  But, when my time there expired I was still was mostly paralyzed, and I had to leave continue my rehab out of state.

Nora has lived through the process as a clinician through her work in the Community Health network, which is another great organization.  But, Nora also realized that there is a significant void in the continuum of care after discharge, and it all relates to cost.

Within the first year of a spinal cord injury (SCI), medical costs can approach 1 million dollars.   Healthcare costs continue to rise, and as a result, inpatient days have become more limited.   In the 1970’s the average stay following SCI was 98 days.  Today, that number has shrunk to just 35 days.

In year two, and every year after, medical costs may reach $100,000 per year.  One in four discharged patients are admitted back into the healthcare system because they sit at home and secondary complications that come hand-in-hand with neurologic injury (pressure sores, contracture, bone-density, etc.) kick in.   Outpatient therapy allowances are shrinking as well.  Insurance companies allow an average of 21.5 visits per year for outpatient physical and occupational therapy.  So, we’re faced with a great irony. At a time when rehabilitative advances are happening faster and faster, adequate access to the best resources is more difficult to come by.

At NeuroHope, we have a different, 4-stage vision.

We do everything we can to complete the continuum of care.  After a patient is discharged, instead of a two-stage process, we add a third stage.   By providing care at affordable, private-pay-rates, the third stage involves a comprehensive approach to extended rehabilitation so patients can maximize their recovery in the critical first two years after injury.   Then we add a 4th stage for chronic injuries that can blend personal training and wellness programs to help patients maintain a healthy quality of life.

The support we’ve received from the ISCBIR Fund has enabled us to do this.  The video below shows how we’ve grown since our October expansion:

This has been our goal.   Thanks to support from the ISCBIR Fund, we have been able to increase staff, move to a new gym in the Incrediplex, and increase hours.  Most importantly, we have been able to tap into our waitlist and help more people living with paralysis. We are currently seeing about 50 clients, with varying diagnosis, the majority being SCI, TBI.

The expansion has also secured an invitation from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to join their NeuroRecovery Network (NRN).  The NRN is a network of sites that share a similar vision centered around activity-based therapy (ABT).  ABT specifically focuses on weaknesses and activating the neuromuscular system below the injury level.

NRN sites collaborate with each other and collect data. Most NRN sites are clinical sites tied to leading rehabilitation hospitals.  Other NRN sites, including NeuroHope, are focused more on community fitness and wellness – with an emphasis on making activity-based therapy more widely available in more of a gym setting.

Some of the research collected exclusively at NRN sites involves Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES).  This looks like normal Electrical Stimulation (E-stim) or FES, but it is much different. NMES is centered around the success of epidural stimulation research.  NMES uses different parameters than typical E-stim.  The main differences are higher pulse width and frequency, and longer amplitude. NMES tries to trigger beyond the muscle into the nervous system.

We’re proud to be a part of the NRN, although it is a very small part of what we do.

Our primary focus centers on the basic mission of getting people active, out of their chairs, and promoting as much recovery and wellness as possible to improve long-term quality of life.   Over the next two years, NeuroHope staff will be working with researchers from the University of Indianapolis to track patient outcome measures, and patient satisfaction.  We have also developed a logic model to help track the overall goals of our program.

This strategic plan is important, because our program must remain sustainable.  A substantial part of what we do relies on fundraising to help offset the true cost of the care we provide.   It’s critical for us to work with providers and healthcare leaders to help complete this continuum of care. And, it’s our hope we can be back a year from now and share our continued success.

Thank you very much.”

NeuroHope: 2018 Brackets For Good Champions!

WE DID IT!! Each one of YOU made NeuroHope the 2018 BRACKETS FOR GOOD CHAMPIONS!!  We are still in awe at the support that flooded in for our cause throughout this MONTH LONG tournament.  Round by round, you carried us past 63 other fantastic charities to the very end. In total, we raised $80,088 AND took home the $10,000 grand prize.  SIMPLY STUNNING!

As one of the smaller charities in the tournament, we were seeded in the “Least Resources / Least Awareness” division.  This meant we were seeded low and faced some difficult competition.  But, THANKS TO YOU, we wore our Cinderella slipper well.  The final round was edge-of-your seat entertainment.  A NeuroHope  “war room” was set up at the Incrediplex As the donations poured in throughout the closing seconds, the LAST PLAY put us over the top for a thrilling $42,339 – $40,207 final round victory.  CHECK OUT THE VIDEO OF THE CLOSING SECONDS BELOW!

Throughout this campaign we totaled:

  • 716 donations
  • 123 First time donors
  • A grand total of $90,088

We are proud and humbled that our mission to provide affordable, extended rehabilitation for neurologic injury is striking a chord in our community and we have all of you to thank.

A special shout-out is dedicated to our corporate teammates at Incrediplex and Hensley Legal Group, who helped make this improbable championship run a reality!

What a month. THANK YOU ALL!

NeuroHope: Reeve Foundation Spotlight!

NeuroHope is the newest affiliate of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network (NRN), and has been featured as a spotlight program on their website / newsletter!  Read the original article here! 

Full text copied below:

“There is no preparation for a spinal cord injury,” says Chris Leeuw. “You wake up one morning a physically fit, able-bodied person and in the blink of an eye your life is completely transformed. When you are looking at paralysis and the potential permanence of that, that’s a situation that’s almost impossible to describe.”

Leeuw is the Founder and Executive Director of NeuroHope, the newest Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network® (NRN) Community Fitness and Wellness Facility in Indianapolis, IN. In August 2010, he sustained a level C4 spinal cord injury in a swimming accident that initially left the then 28-year-old paralyzed from the neck down. Like many, Leeuw was given a poor outlook.

“After a few weeks, I began to see some signs of hope,” said Leeuw. “Early recovery in my fingers and right leg gave me the inspiration I needed to do more. My time in outpatient therapy was up and I was still mostly paralyzed. I knew that with more rehab, I had a good chance of recovery.”

In 2011, he travelled to Neuroworx in South Jordan, UT, a NRN Community Fitness and Wellness Facility at the time.

“Neuroworx understood neurological recovery and had the resources and experience to help me get my life back,” said Leeuw. “It took two years to get where I am today, walking and independent. Recovery is slow and different for everyone, but much of the journey is similar for all who are hurt.”

Although Leeuw has had a good deal of recovery, his injury is still a big part of his everyday life.

“I wanted to bring the cutting-edge interventions I’d experienced at Neuroworx back to Indianapolis,” said Leeuw. “Living with a spinal cord injury is not just about recovery, it is about long-term maintenance. Every movement is a conscious effort. These recoveries are a lot more than neurologic return, a lot of it is maintaining your body afterward.”

In 2015, he opened NeuroHope as a part-time clinic in a small University of Indianapolis gym with a therapy mat and a vision.

“Right now in traditional healthcare, people get discharged from inpatient and insurance will reimburse only for a limited number of outpatient visits. Then they go home,” said Leeuw. “These individuals need more time to maximize their recovery. They need time to learn some of the skills to deal with their new life, and in most communities, there is no place for them to go. There is a void in long-term rehab options.”

Leeuw reached out for community support. Working with the Indiana state legislature, Leeuw received a nearly $1 million grant from the Indiana Spinal Cord and Brain Research Fund which allowed NeuroHope to expand. The facility moved into a larger space, bought new equipment and now sees 50 participants a year, with a hope to double that number by 2019.

“My main goals were to create a clinic where people could come for continued, affordable care and we wanted to join the NRN,” said Leeuw. “I saw first-hand the value of the NRN interventions and I wanted badly to bring that to Indiana.”

In 2017, NeuroHope’s staff was invited to begin training to become a NRN Community Fitness and Wellness facility.

“We are thrilled to be part of the NRN. It gives us a chance to reach more people and bring that level of care to Indiana for affordable private pay rates,” said Leeuw. “Healthcare is great here but we want to go beyond that so people can continue their care. This is about providing a wellness center in addition to therapy where disabled individuals, wounded veterans, stroke survivors, brain injury survivors can go to exercise to live a long, happy and healthy life.”

Leeuw continues, “An injury changes you, changes your family, and changes your character. Every family needs more help when they leave the hospital. Our hope is to be there for them as they navigate their new path, and put them in the best position to maximize their recovery and quality of life.”