SCI Life January 2013

Peter Morton

Peter Morton

More Joy Than He Could Imagine
When he was 32, Peter Morton, now 49, was chief financial officer of a brokerage operations company in Minneapolis, Minn. A bike ride gone awry changed all of that when he broke his neck at C3-4 with neurological damage up to the C2 level, leaving him ventilator dependent. “The path was so difficult during those first few years,” he says. “Looking back, sometimes I am amazed that I made it through.”

A healthy family and friends support network were indispensable to Morton. “I had and still have great friends, a supportive family and a loving girlfriend who stuck by me through those difficult times.” In fact, one of the most beautiful things to happen because of his injury was the relationship between him and his girlfriend, which — against all odds — grew stronger.

“We both decided to start our relationship over and take it one day at a time,” says Morton, describing how they were able to make the transition as a couple into spinal cord injury territory. “Fortunately our love for each other flourished despite the drastic changes in our lives. Five years after the accident we were married.” And Morton and his wife had children via in vitro fertilization.

“To be honest, I had kids because I knew my wife wanted them. I had no idea how incredible the experience of being a father would actually be,” says Morton. “The best example of my feelings for my children is this: ‘Would I go back to my pre-injury self if I could?’ The answer would be no, since to do so would mean I would have to give up my children.  My family means more to me than anything, including the use of my body.”

Morton and his family now live in Chandler, Ariz., so he can spend time outdoors with his children year-round.

Learn about the research foundation in his name: www.mcpf.org.

Surf Away Your Winter Doldrums
The first adaptive surfing camp in the world, Shaka Beach Retreat, is located in Costa Rica and founded by the nonprofit Ocean Healing Group, which offers kids with disabilities (and their parents) a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to surf. Adults with disabilities are also welcome. Shaka Retreat provides four adaptive surfing sessions each year.

NM0113_SCI2The founders of Shaka Retreat were inspired to create their retreat after hearing about Life Rolls On, founded by Jesse Billauer. They decided they wanted to create a similar adaptive surfing program, but not have it in the United States. They made sure during construction that it is fully ADA compliant, and they offer a multitude of accessible activities, including zip-line tours.

And not only do they have qualified surfing professionals on-hand to ensure everyone stays safe, paralyzed surfer Christiaan Bailey, one of their coaches, teaches adaptive surfing skills. And their staff is also available to assist, if needed.

Check out www.shakacostarica.com/adaptive-surfing.

Another Pushing Aid
Maxmobility Smart Drive is the latest technology to make pushing a manual chair easier. This design is a wheel that snaps to the back of a wheelchair, and it is a hulking-strong wheel that takes the user up inclines, over carpet, down curbs and even lets them push one-handed. Cost: $6,933.75

See more at http://max-mobility.com/products/smartdrive.

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