My sister Allison has been by my side since day one after the accident 4 years ago.
At the Rehabilitation hospital, she stayed well past the “allowed” visiting hours each night. At the nursing home, she kept me company, fed me, and did her best to keep my spirits up during the darkest times. She spent hours fighting and writing hospital and insurance company administrators in an effort to grant more rehabilitation time. She was my biggest cheerleader every step of the way as I slowly gained back my mobility and independence. She even walked with me as I struggled through a mile at a fundraiser for the Reeve Foundation at the Kentucky Derby Marathon in 2012.
Now, she is playing an instrumental role in helping to create NeuroHope.
Allison recently posted the update below on her facebook page. It’s both chilling and moving, and a reminder that entire families are changed by spinal cord injury – not just the person thrown into paralysis.
Essentially 4 years ago – August 8, 2010.
It was a sunny afternoon. I was enjoying a typically beautiful summer day at Lake Wawasee with close friends and family. I remember going on boat rides and trying to take kiddo’s on the jet-skis. We were “borrowing” Chris’s two SeaDoos, and I remember calling my “little” brother to ask his advice about some issue we were having.
Carefree and oblivious.
“So Chris, what kind of oil do they take?” We spoke so briefly. Just a random chat. It’s funny how the random details stick with you.
I remember our dear friends packed up early to go home and to work/school the next day. I think the first day of school that year was the upcoming Monday. I stayed behind at the cottage. I was vacuuming, cleaning, and enjoying one last summer sunset with a plan to drive back to Indianapolis in the morning.
I didn’t hear from anyone else that evening and I crashed early. It still shatters my soul to think what was going on back home.
I woke up the next morning to strange and somber voicemails on my phone. From cousin Julie: “Allison, I heard about Chris’s accident, call me, let me know what we can do, we love you.”
That was how I heard the news. Through all the drama of the day, a helicopter trip to the ICU and a night spent in the Emergency Room, Mom and Dad hadn’t called me. They knew I was three hours north and feared me driving back on my own. They were caught up in a nightmare.
Somethings are a blur now. We felt like zombies for months. Tears and Panic. Hope and Fear.
“Fight fight fight” , became the mantra. I will never forget the strength of Chris’s attitude. I still try to live each day with gratitude and purpose.
Today, we have a renewed purpose.
Four years after a C4/5 spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the neck down, we have created a public charity that will offer the extended rehabilitation services he struggled so hard to obtain.
We need your support. We need help to spread the word.
If you haven’t already, please watch and share the inspirational video that Chris put together with help from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and his close friends. It is too easy to take the simple things for granted in life. Mobility. Freedom. Health.
Take a moment and breathe in your life and your blessings. Life can change in an instant and yet we all have the power to change lives.
Ask yourself, “What change will I make today?”