SCI Life: September 2012

Saying No to ‘No
How many of you grew tired after hearing the word “no” following your injury? No to the possibility of getting better, no to the PCA services you desperately need, etc., etc. Well, Katy Blake, a determined 25-year-old from Pascagoula, Miss., finally got sick of hearing no.

SCI_912Blake has seen a tough road. After breaking her neck in a diving accident in 2010 while horsing around with friends, she has had to struggle with Mississippi Medicaid.

“Medicaid was only willing to pay for two weeks of therapy for what was called ‘The Care-Giver Program,’” she says. “The focus of these two weeks were to teach my mother, my primary caregiver, how to take care of me.” After returning home with her retired mother, she was left to her own devices. After 10 months of struggles, a possible solution dawned on her: Use social media to help.

So she began “Help Katy Back to Rehab” on Facebook in April 2011. “I thought if enough people, or the right person, somehow heard about my plight, that they could possibly help.” Getting a huge response, she decided to raise funds to go to the renowned Shepherd Center. So far she has had multiple benefactors, including the Sigma Nu chapter at Ole Miss. And being an artist, she has been selling her paintings online.

Her dream finally became a reality in April when she went to Shepherd for a month. “They never said the words ‘no’ or ‘can’t.’ For the first time since my injury, I felt limitless,” she says. “I truly believe that with the proper therapy, great faith, deep determination, and hard work that I can walk again one day. At the very least, I will do everything in my power to try.”

Visit her group, www.facebook.com/RehabforKaty, or rehabforkaty.org.

The ‘Yelp’ of Restaurant Access
Imagine if you could know if the parking lot of the restaurant you were about to visit was completely accessible, or if the doors to the restaurant were going to be heavy (so you could plan ahead if you needed help). An impossible utopia? No, we’re talking about DisabledDining.com.

DisabledDining.com provides detailed accessibility reviews of chain restaurants, including both sit-down and fast food. Although the man behind the site is a wheelchair user in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, he intends at least part of the reviews to apply to national franchises (parking is the most likely to be different, he says).

Not only does the site reveal “The Bad” and “The Good” restaurant lists, it also shares tips on the best ways you can ensure the most accessible dining experience possible, including basic ADA guidelines for restaurants. Check out DisabledDining.com

SCI_912_2Profiling the Fate-Challengers
For one of the most powerful insights into life with spinal cord injury — and how not to allow the Fates to completely win — check out the documentary Stronger Than Fate, which profiles four people with spinal cord injuries, one of whom is Annette Ross, an active mother and L1 para whose role is central to the film. Go to strongerthanfate.tv.

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