“Hi. My name is Allison and I’m a slacker. It’s been almost two months since my last post and my readers are starting to ask questions.”
“Welcome, Allison. We’re here to help. Come, sit down and take a deep breath. It will all come back to you and everyone will be just fine.”
“But, I’m not sure I remember everything and I don’t have all the pictures and video ready to load. I don’t have final numbers from the fundraisers. People will ask questions. I won’t meet expectations.”
And, so that goes to the point of my life. Meeting Expectations, rather Exceeding Expectations. I’m a pleaser, a planner and a right now a peruser of stores for Christmas gifts. But, enough about me. How is Danny? How is Corbin?
Getting to the failed business at hand….
As you can tell from the photo, our family entered the costume contest at our church’s fall festival; playing the part of doctor is Corbin sporting surgical scrubs with “Dr. Corbin” embroidered on the front along with his personal pediatric stethoscope. I am playing the part of nurse or therapist at Shepherd Center and as you’ve figured out by now, Danny aka “Homie” is the patient. No, I didn’t punch Danny’s eye or break his nose; those are called props, people! Anyway, for our efforts, we placed 2nd in the Family Participation category and earned a gift card to the movies. I hope to use that soon as there seem to be a bunch of fun, kid friendly movies coming out soon.
Catching up from the last post, the Memorial Ride went well. We had about 50 riders or so and Danny had a fabulous time. No, I don’t have any pictures yet. See above slacker comment. I did, however, have the most fun racing the go-carts on the speed track. Thank you, Lisa!
Speaking of Lisa, brings me to pool therapy, which leads my mind to this short clip below.
A brief background of therapy since I last wrote, Danny has made some big strides and I’m happy to report I mean that literally. It seems like each week, he does something greater, stronger or just plain new than the week prior. See video.
On this particular Friday, November 21st, Danny did new and unexpected, unplanned moves. First of all, while standing at the Smith machine (single bar that Danny holds onto while performing standing exercises) an aerobic step was placed at his feet. He was ask to merely place each foot on the top and then bring it back to the starting position. Well, Danny decided to step up onto the step with both feet and then kept on doing it; with the weaker right leg leading and the stronger left leg leading. It was great and his therapist was pleased.
I happen to casually mention this to Lisa when Danny was starting his pool session later that same day. So, they worked on going up the stairs. Now, mind you, this is the first time he’d climbed stairs since the accident. All the sudden, he’s doing it. So, Lisa is so pleased she calls Paige to come and have a look. Paige is so pleased, she asks Danny to climb out of the pool by the stairs. See video. (This is clip one of three, but the other two are too large to do through blogger. I have to do it from home via YouTube. Again, slacker confession above.)
Although you don’t see it, Danny does in fact make it all the way out of the pool and into the waiting shower wheelchair you should see on the right side of the video. I was so proud and so was everyone else, except Danny. It was so significant because 1. he’d never done stairs until this day 2. it was his 3rd session of the day and he was fatigued 3. he had no Bioness on his right leg (electrical stimulation) and 4. he didn’t use the walker or the Argo, just merely held onto Paige’s shoulders with Lisa supporting his knees from behind him.
So encouraged were his therapists, that last Friday, December 5th, Danny had to walk into the pool. See that long ramp to Danny’s left in the video? Well, he had to walk holding onto a therapist’s shoulders all the way to the stairs. And, that is an Olympic size swimming pool folks. Maybe I can get the video to post.
This was after Danny had walked four lengths of the gym during which he was told that he was taking bigger strides with his right leg than anyone had seen him do. It was so positive for me to see him walk so much, stepping about 50% of the time with his right leg independently. Danny has also begun to sweat more than I’ve seen him do post-accident. I find this to be a positive indication that his body is finally working together and working properly.
Wednesday, December 3rd, Danny was a rock star. He used the walker during his gaiting session and according to Candy, did his best walking to date. Let me put it to you this way; on their second trip down the length of the gym, Candy made sure there was someone videotaping. Danny was even proud of himself. I’ve posted a few lines of an email that Danny actually crafted, so these are his words.
“Finally, thank God! Today at therapy I saw all the hard work start to pay off. I was doing my walking hour in the gym with the standard walker and low and behold my right leg came out to play today. Its been an ongoing battle. When I’m walking with the arjoe its fine because with the momentum of my left leg I can just push the arjoe cuz its on wheels and I can drag my right foot along for the trip. But the walker Oooh! there’s a different story. You see there are no helpful little wheels on it you must step every step. And today I walked 2 lengths of the gym faster than I ever have even with the arjoe but I did it with the walker. When we started on our voyage, I was like great, here we go again. When are these idiot therapists going to get it? DUH! My right leg doesn’t play this game and what do you know it even shocked me. It was stepping along like “gees is this what you wanted me to do all along?” Before I knew it, we were at the end of the gym turning around. I couldn’t believe I’d gone that fast. I know God is trying to teach me something with this whole thing, but what was His point with my right leg? Now all I need is for my left arm to wake up.”
All these positive reports have brought me to a very important introduction to our fundraising campaign. As most of you know, Danny’s participation in Beyond Therapy is not covered by insurance and costs between $700 and $850 a week. In addition, Danny still needs caregiving assistance for daily living needs categorized as custodial care, which is also not covered by insurance. Personal funding for Danny’s on-going care and therapy is exhausted and thus we’ve teamed up with the National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF) and their catastrophic injury team.
The NTAF is a nonprofit organization, offering “fiscal accountability” and provides “patients and their families, friends and communities with the necessary tools to raise funds for uninsured injury-related expenses.” Donations sent through the NTAF in Danny’s honor are now tax deductible and used only for Danny’s medical expenses. This organization is exactly what we’ve needed to offer you the benefit of a tax deduction and they will also assist in the marketing of upcoming fundraisers. We are also able to offer “gift in kind” donation forms from services given that result in donations in Danny’s honor to NTAF. 96% of your donation goes directly to Danny’s needs; a mere 4% administrative fee for the NTAF. Once a donation is received to the NTAF in Danny’s honor, a Web site will be linked from NTAF in Danny’s name and you’ll be able to give online as well. Basically, this organization is the link we’ve been missing.
Danny has so much momentum in his progress right now; more than I’ve ever seen since his start in Beyond Therapy. It would be a disservice to him to have to withdraw because of funding. He would lose all that he has worked so hard for and his future would fall further out of his reach. Please help us keep Danny where he needs to be in Beyond Therapy and help us have a future that has a more normal looking face.
For information about NTAF, please visit www.catastrophicinjury.org. To make a donation by check 1. Make check payable to NTAF Southeast Brain Injury Fund, 2. In Memo section of check, print In Honor of Danny Diaz, and 3. Send to NTAF 150 N. Radnor Chester Road, Suite F-120 Radnor, PA 19087. To make a donation by Credit Card, please call 800-642-8399 or visit www.transplantfund.org.
Legal ease from NTAF: Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. This campaign is adminstered by the National Transplant Assistance Fund, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit providing fundraising assistance to transplant and catastrophic injury patients.
Thank you for your consideration in making a donation towards Danny’s future and the future of our family. Any financial help, no matter how large or small, will keep Danny on the road to walking again.