Last August, exactly eight years after waking up in the ICU, I had the honor of speaking at the 2018 Joseph Group Wealth Summit in Columbus, Ohio.
It was the first time I gave a public account of my entire personal story – the moment of the accident, life as a quadriplegic, what happens to the body after spinal cord injury, and a detailed description of early rehabilitation, skilled nursing care, and the roadblocks patients encounter as they navigate through a complex healthcare system.
I also explained traveling to Neuroworx to receive affordable, continued therapy, and the model of patient-centric healthcare that inspired the birth of NeuroHope.
0:00 mark: Waking up in intensive care and the day of the accident
9:20 mark: Spinal Cord Injury 101 and life as a quadriplegic
12:55 mark: Re-thinking healthcare, the journey from the hospital, to a nursing home and the void for continued therapy after neurologic injury
21:20 mark: My journey to Neuroworx and re-learning to walk
25:44 mark: A life changed, creating NeuroHope and finding purpose.
https://www.neurohopewellness.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Chris-Leeuw.jpg8941594Chris Leeuw/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/NeuroHope_Color.svgChris Leeuw2019-02-20 11:56:332019-04-09 10:55:31VIDEO: Overcoming Paralysis, Changing Healthcare, and Finding Your Passion
A veteran of the Pike Township Fire Department and the War in Afghanistan, in June of 2015, John Piper suffered a life changing spinal cord injury in a motorcycle crash. His journey from the ICU to inpatient and outpatient rehab, to extended rehab at Frazier Rehabilitation Institute and NeuroHope is an inspiring one.
Recovering from neurologic injury is a physical, mental, and emotional battle. The determination John shows each day is moving.
THIS is what it’s all about everyone!
https://www.neurohopewellness.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Piper-1.jpg350960Chris Leeuw/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/NeuroHope_Color.svgChris Leeuw2017-03-21 20:46:522017-03-21 20:46:52Client Spotlight: John Piper
Macy Huff was a 15-year old sophomore at Ben Davis High School when a tumble at cheerleading practice went terribly wrong.
On April 25, 2013 she was demonstrating a maneuver to a younger student and miscalculated her landing. She over-rotated, landed on her head, and broke her neck. The spinal cord injury Macy suffered instantly left her paralyzed from the shoulders down. In the blink of an eye she was thrust into a new and formidable reality and forced to cope with a new body and a new life.
The mental and the physical toll that spinal cord injuries administer are difficult to overcome. It is an arduous road of healing, rehabilitating, and learning how to live with a body that has changed in look, feel, and function. Macy lives on that road. And she has confronted her struggle with fortitude from day one.
She is considered a c5/6 quadriplegic and does not have much function below her injury level. She lives with significant paralysis in her core, legs, and hands. Even so, Macy presents much better than most c5 quadriplegics. Thanks to a unique insurance plan, Macy has been fortunate to take part in regular therapy and strengthening programs ever since her injury. Most spinal cord injured individuals are forced to leave rehabilitation after a few months. Unfortunately, many fail to keep up with therapy and exercise once they move home. Not Macy. The two years following her injury were spent taking part in weekly outpatient programs to maximize her recovery and strengthen her body. Additionally, she’s been a regular client at NeuroHope ever since she left traditional therapy in the spring of 2015. Last year she even experimented with a ReWalk Exoskeleton at the clinic. You can see her first steps in the device here.
Macy’s hard work and determination over the last three years is evident. She has fantastic posture and sitting balance. She is comfortable transferring in and out of her chair. Her blood pressure issues are a concern of the past. For someone with a cervical spinal cord injury, those are difficult goals to achieve.
Today, Macy is preparing for college. But, before she leaves there is another goal on her mind. She is training three times per week at NeuroHope to take assisted steps across the graduation stage to receive her high school diploma!
CBS 4 visited NeuroHope earlier in the year to detail her daily grind at the clinic. Watch the video here!
Macy, like all of the clients we are privileged to work with, inspires us! We are proud to be a part of her journey, and we are eager to see her standing on the Ben Davis stage on June 4th.
Click here to learn how you can help the Huff’s raise money for an adaptable van that she can drive!
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?”
/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/NeuroHope_Color.svg00Chris Leeuw/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/NeuroHope_Color.svgChris Leeuw2014-08-15 15:04:522022-09-26 16:42:31One Summer Sunday: A Sister’s Perspective