A spinal cord injury (SCI) is when a traumatic event, disease, or virus damages the cells within the spinal cord and affects the nerves that relay signals back and forth from the brain and the body, resulting in the loss of normal function. September was designated as National Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Awareness Month by the U.S. Senate to raise awareness about SCI, the need for better treatments and education on prevention.
Living Forward After a Life Changing Event
We founded Your Invisible Disability Group service organization after our own life-changing event and before I received my Jazzy Air® 2 power wheelchair. We encounter so many people who stop me in person or ask me online if the seat elevation on my mobility device is a necessity or an accessory. This is a far cry from the downtrodden, newly injured countenance that weighed me down after my spinal cord injury diagnosis.
The reason why this is so important to me, the organization and the families we serve through our support/service organization, is because life doesn’t end at the point of a disability diagnosis. Between the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA, where I received rehabilitative care, and the amazing friends and disabled colleagues we’ve connected with along the way, we are truly living our best life, while dispelling the myth that disability is a death sentence. The following organizations have also been supporting the SCI community.
More Than My Chair
The Triumph Foundation in Valencia, CA, “helps children, adults, and Veterans with spinal cord injury/disorder to triumph over their disability and to inspire them to keep moving forward with their lives by pushing themselves to get better every day.” In honor of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness, they have started the viral hashtag (#) campaign using #morethanmychair in alignment with their mission of helping people triumph over paralysis, from the newly injured to assistance with grants and equipment and adaptive recreation.
Superman is fighting SCI
Christopher Reeve is best known for portraying Superman and Clark Kent in the original 1978 movie. He founded the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation in 1998 to promote research on spinal cord injuries after he became paralyzed in 1995. According to their independent and verifiable research, paralysis is dramatically more widespread than previously thought. Approximately 1.7 percent of the U.S. population, or 5,357,970 people reported they were living with some form of paralysis, defined by evidence-based study as a central nervous system disorder resulting in difficulty or inability to move the upper or lower extremities. The specific statistics are as follows:
- The leading cause of paralysis was stroke (33.7 percent), followed by spinal cord injury (27.3 percent) and multiple sclerosis (18.6 percent).
- People living with paralysis have households with lower incomes. Roughly 28% of households with a person who is paralyzed make less than $15,000 per year.
- On the employment front, 15.5% of individuals living with paralysis are employed versus 63.1% who are not living with a disability. Additionally, 41.8% of those living with paralysis indicated they were unable to work.
In closing, there are millions of people living in America today that suffer from paralysis who need your support and awareness to create unforgettable opportunities for the disability community. Take this time to learn more about this condition and join the #LifeWorthLiving movement all year round.