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.
“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.”