Peter Wilderotter is  running the London Marathon on May 22nd while raising funds for the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation. Throughout his training in the 26 days leading up to the race Peter wrote 26 different stories about different people that he has met through the foundation with spinal cord injuries and their families. Peter is leading by example by doing this Marathon There are so many other stories that need to be told in order to help our community.

Peter highlighted me as mile number 25. The significance of number 25 represents this coming January 2, 2013 marks 25 years since I have paralyzed. Thank you so very much Peter for taking on this effort. Remember"Never Say Never" and I will see you August 5th at triathlon in Belmar.

the link below is to Peter's blog which  has all 26 of the stories you should read.each one of the stories shows different sides of this injury and how people are affected, but also how they overcome as well.

Triathlon "never say never"

This summer I completed the first "leg" of Team Reeve's Autism Triathlon in Belmar, New Jersey. For the first time in 23 years, I was back in the ocean and swimming a quarter mile. Truly "nothing is impossible."

By Jamie Lassner

In the darkness of the early morning hours of July 31, 2011 a caravan of 2 vans and 1 car from Manhattan and 1 van from Short Hills, NJ began their road trip to Belmar, New Jersey. All 13 people knew that that day was going to be like no other day.

The goal for all of us was to finish our Triathlon or Duathlon. Peter an executive at the Reeve Foundation,traveled with his buddy Chris and discussed their Duathlon relay team strategy. Mamadou traveled with my 2 sons, Sam and Adam,with the all the athletes bikes and equipment. They got pumped up for the big day listening to the latest pop songs. In our van, Amy, Emily, Mara, Mitch, Susie and I talked about past races and plans for future races. Glen (‘Hollywood’)traveled with Alan, the man who has inspired many in his life and was about to captain the TEAM REEVE ‘Never Say Never” in the 2011Triathlon/Duathlon for Autism.

Upon arrival at the starting line in Belmar we unloaded our bikes and gear under the shadow of a spectacular sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.

Tom Manzi, the U.S.A. Triathlon Official in charge of the race greeted us with our race packets containing our numbers and electronic timing chips. Tom, a caring human being, was instrumental in making sure that Alan’s participation in the event was a smooth sail. Alan,who I know since we attended Ramaz School and played hockey together on the streets of New York City, was spinal cord injured 23 years ago while in the ocean on vacation in the Caribbean. Living with quadriplegia, Alan was set on returning to the ocean for the first time as the swimmer and first"leg" of the triathlon. In celebration of the 20thAnniversary of doing the NY Marathon together, Alan suggested that I do the cycling"leg" of the Triathlon (he asked me 15 minutes after I finished my first Triathlon on June 19).

Several years ago, Alan started using the Ibot Wheelchair, a chair that works on gyroscope technology. Sam, my oldest son, who was about 8 at the time, was amazed at Alan’s new chair. To illustrate how amazing the chair was he asked Sam to give him a hockey check. Sam pushed him slightly. Alan looked at him in amazement and said “is that all that you got”. Sam, an accomplished hockey player, turned tome in dismay and asked in hockey language “Dad, should I plaster him?”. Before I could answer Alan replied “go for it”. So Sam took 3 steps back, ran towards Alan,went airborne and checked Alan really hard across the chest. The chair moved back a few inches and self-corrected immediately. From that time on, Sam and Alan bonded in a very special way. They have a unique and at times warped humor laden friendship. In that spirit of friendship and camaraderie, Alan chose Sam to serve as our runner in the final ‘leg’ of the Triathlon. TEAM REEVE ‘Never Say Never’ - Relay Team #339 was ready.

At about 6:45AM Adam, Amy, Chris, Mara, Mitch and Peter arrived at the start of the Duathlon (2 mile run, 13 mile bike and 3.1 mile run) on Ocean Avenue.Susie and Emily with their wetsuits and goggles on jostled for position at the start of the Triathlon (Quarter mile ocean swim , 13 mile bike and 3.1 mile run).

A couple of minutes before the 7AM starting time, lifeguards and police cleared the path to the water’s edge so that Alan, could be brought to the shore via golf cart. In the carriage of the cart, Mamadou, at 6’9”, gem of a person, was on Alan’s left side and Glen, better known as‘Hollywood’ was on Alan’s right. The cart stopped. The crowd of about 500 started to swell around the center of the Triathlon start. ‘Hollywood’, lifted Alan up in a fireman’s carry and proceeded to walk Alan into about 4 feet of water. The crowd burst into loud clapping and calls of “go Alan” from Eva Bernstein Wasser (who knows Alan since birth) her husband Cliff and their family. The crowd got louder and louder as Alan faded into the horizon doing a strong and smooth backstroke.

With tears in my eyes (ok, I was crying), I looked out in amazement. Alan, was back in the very water that changed his life forever, competing in a Triathlon. I looked around me and all were moved to tears, those who know Alan for 3+ decades and those who were witnessing one of the most inspirational moments of their and our lives. Alan, was remarkable, doing the swim in such speed that I was not ready when Sam came running over to me with the race timing chip.

Cycling 3 laps of a 4+ plus mile loop on the shores of the beautiful Belmar Beaches and small lake inland, was very cathartic. Lap 1& 2, gave me ample time to reflect on Alan’s accomplishment on that morning and in years past. Amazing, remarkable, inspiring, ‘meshugana’ were but a few words that went through my mind. I thought about how Alan meets life’s challenges head on and how he is at the forefront of helping other on a moments notice. I recalled the inscription on a photo that hangs in my office of Alan on top of the Verrazano Bridge in NY Marathon. It reads “This Bridge is the 1stof many obstacles we will cross”.

The final lap, I began to reflect much about my experiences since I was injured on 9/11 as an EMT/first responder at Ground Zero. I did take time, to thank G-d for my wonderful family, and for watching over me and all who are near and dear to me.I was grateful to Him for having Alan as an integral part of our lives. Alan has served as my rock when the going got tough and certainly in the days following September 11. Suddenly I hit a bump in the road and my water bottles and energy food went flying. It was certainly G-ds way of telling me, “hey Jamie you are in race, focus!’.

As I entered the straight away I could see the finish line about a mile away. I also spotted Adam, who was cycling at a great pace and enjoying the day. I increased my cadence so that I could finish in a strong manner. As I entered the transition area, I saw Sam waving at me so I could hand off the Relay Team #339 Chip. We high-fived and Sam was off.

I went over to the finish line area to cheer on my TEAM REEVE teammates – all of whom finished. All improved on their personal records and Emily, Mitch and Adam were among the top finishers in their age groups. Amy, an accomplished Marathoner, competed in her first Multi-sport event and crossed the finish line with grace and is now a Duathlete. Peter and Chris finished with smiles on their faces. Susie, a childhood friend of Alan’s, finished her 2nd Triathlon with a graceful sprint to the finish line. Mara, my wife and best buddy (who went to camp with Alan), finished her2nd Duathlon with her signature smile.

Sam, Alan and I, Relay Team #339, finished the Triathlon in 1 hour and 18 minutes. The 18 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word Chai = Life. Indeed on that day, all who were there to witness Alan’s inspiring accomplishment, walked away with a great and lesson in life. Thank you Alan, thank you my friend.

Channel 10 golf video

Here's another link from Channel 10 WPLG featuring the Paramobile device and how it contributes to quality of life.

Hitting golf balls

Thanks to the Stand up and Play Foundation and the Paramobile device, I was able to stand up-right and hit a golf ball for the first time in 23 years. It was an exhilarating experience to be able to swing a golf club again. Although I may not be at the top of my game on the links, I'm confident nobody can beat me at a game of Wii golf.


Eva Longoria's Rally for Kids with Cancer Charity Event

Check out The Miami Herald article about Eva Longoria's charity event to benefit pediatric cancer research. I was happy to help facilitate the fund-raising effort at the gala dinner in Miami Beach.

A Magical Evening 2010

Check out my speech from the 2010 AME Award Dinner in New York City for the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation. I talked about Friendship and Health and the importance of The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center. The center helps provide vital information for people living with paralysis and their caregivers to promote health, encourage community involvement, and improve quality of life.

Shape Up America! The Alan T. Brown Story

Alan was only 20 years old, some would say "in the prime of his life", when he broke his neck while swimming in the ocean. Taken by surprise by a freak wave, he came out of this accident a C5-6 quadriplegic. That means his 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae were severely injured leaving him almost totally paralyzed and without the use of his hands, although he is able to lift his arms. It was 22 years later, at the age of 43, that he had a moment of truth. By that time he was married and the father of two young boys. Several of his friends in the special community of spinal cord injured people to which he belongs had already died and many others were unfit and overweight. He realized he wanted to be there for his boys as they grow up and he was fed up with the fact that he had a "quad belly." As he struggled into his size 40 pants, he admitted that he too was overweight and out of shape.

At 211 pounds (originally 5 foot 8 inches tall) his body mass index was 32, so he was clinically obese. He was determined to do something about it. In 2009 he began to "shape up" his diet and exercise regimen. Here is what he did:

He reformed his eating habits by eliminating snacks and unhealthy food. He chooses nuts and fruit for his snacks and at meals, his food choices include lots of veggies and fruit; his protein choices emphasize poultry and fish. He did not cut out his favorite pasta dishes or pizza, but he now chooses one slice of pizza instead of two and one bowl of pasta instead of two. He cut out all sodas and now uses only water (and plenty of it) to maintain his hydration. Maintaining his energy level is a priority so he is careful to eat at regular intervals throughout the day.

As a wheel chair bound person, he joined a health club costing $35 per month but here is where his ingenuity kicked in. Using hooks and ropes that he brought from home, he has devised ways in which he can remain in his chair but still use the machines designed for weight training (also known as resistance training). His health club has a pool with a hydraulic lift allowing him to get into the water, so he alternates 45 minutes of weight training with aerobic exercise (swimming) for a total of 3 days per week for each form of exercise.

Here is what he has accomplished:

He now weighs in at 158 pounds
He can swim up to 1.5 miles using a combination of the backstroke and a crawl.
He has reduced or eliminated his blood pressure and most of his other medications
He feels and looks younger
He fits comfortably into size 33 pants
His "quad belly" is a thing of the past
He is an inspiration to others who are working on lifestyle change
He feels great!

gere is a link to the artcle

Two Friends. Two Injuries. One Mission.

By: Janelle LoBello

Name:Danny Heumann
Injury: T4 paraplegic
Mechanism of injury: Auto accident
Date of injury: August 13, 1985
Hometown: Riverdale, NY

Name: Alan Brown
Injury: C5, C6 quadriplegic
Mechanism of injury: Swimming accident
Date of injury: January 2, 1988
Hometown: New York, NY

Having been classmates and friends since the 1980s, Danny Heumann and Alan T. Brown share a unique story that has now brought them together again as members of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Board of Directors.

Danny was paralyzed at 18-years-old in August 1985 in a car accident. In January 1988, Alan became paralyzed, at the age of 20, as a result of a swimming accident.

"We're two New York boys who bit the bullet," says Danny, 42, of himself and Alan, 43. "He broke his neck. It wasn't enough to be paralyzed; he had to become a quad to show me up!"

"I would never think in a class of 70 kids, that two kids, two best friends, were going to end up in wheelchairs," says Alan. "We walked down the aisle together at our high school graduation," explains Alan, who considers Danny to be like a brother to him. "That was probably the last time I saw Danny walking."

Danny's broken back
Just two weeks before he was set to begin his freshman year at Syracuse University, Danny was injured in an auto accident while serving as a camp counselor in the Adirondacks. "The driver of the car I was in was speeding around a curb," explains Danny, quick to point out there were no drugs or alcohol involved. "He was killed, the two others walked away without a scratch, and I broke my back and was paralyzed."

When Danny was injured, Alan decided he would do all he could do to help his friend. "I would take him places, drive him around," says Alan. "Stuff I never thought I would be doing, but I didn't mind. I would help him take his wheelchair apart, get dressed, urological things … anything to make life easier."

Alan's broken neck
Three years later, Alan was vacationing in Club Med. "I was on my way to the beach and the other two buses in the group were warned not to go into the water because of a storm," explains Alan of his injury. "I went in the water and was pulled under a wave. I hit the ocean floor and heard a snap. I was underwater a little more than three minutes before my friends pulled me out. I was in spinal shock and very alert. I remembered learning from Danny's accident and told them not to move me."

On his 21st birthday, Alan underwent surgery to have two metal plates and 11 screws inserted in his C5 and C6 vertebra. "I laughed a lot and never really got upset; when I was in the ICU I tried to make the best of it. I learned that if I held my breath the alarms would go off. The nurses would run in, I would say, ‘Talk to me! I'm bored!'"

Channeling Christopher
Both Danny and Alan were friends with Christopher Reeve. They have picked up his torch, continuing to advocate for people living with paralysis.

"He didn't get to finish," says Alan, who originally met Christopher at a New York Rangers hockey game not long after he was thrown from his horse in 1995, "so I'm going to finish for him. He had such little movement, but never stopped moving. He was a leader, never stopped, never gave up."

"When I think about Christopher, I think about the incredible advocate he was," says Danny. "And not just because he was so visible, but because of how bright he was. As an advocate he had brilliance and knowledge of what he was advocating, he wasn't just a movie star. Today, that's how I model myself as an advocate. It's important to not just be passionate, but really know an issue inside and out."

Making changes
In 1986, Danny, along with his family and friends, started the Daniel Heumann Fund for Spinal Cord Research to give hope when there was no hope to be found. In 2003, he founded the motivational speaking company, Heumannly Capable. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 and received his law degree from American University in 1998.

Alan is co-founder of the Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis (ATBF), established in 1988. ATBF supports scientific and medical research but he is most proud of the Foundation's Peer Mentoring Program. Alan is also founder and owner of PrimeTime Public Relations & Marketing in Hollywood, Florida.

"He and I were put in chairs for a reason," says Danny. "I don't believe the man upstairs was satisfied with our lives on foot. He thought Alan and I had more potential from sitting in chairs with a broken neck and broken back."

"I have pictures of us from before, standing together," says Alan. "Now, we're sitting together and making a difference in the SCI world."

Neither Danny nor Alan take their injuries sitting down. "We're game changers," explains Danny. "We change the game. Instead of being victims just lying in bed, we are in people's faces. Nobody's going to remember us for the amount of money in our bank accounts or the fancy cars we drive. People are going to remember us for the betterment of humankind."

"We had the worst circumstances with the best outlook," adds Alan.

What about healthcare?
Both men recognize the value of quality of life in the present for someone living with paralysis. "As much as I would love to walk again," says Danny, "most important to me, is to be able to have sensation again from my chest down."

Alan and his foundation, ATBF, are dedicated to "partnering with researchers that are conducting studies targeting specific problems associated with prolonged confinement to a wheelchair and paralysis."

Alan aims to provide assistance and support within the ATBF Peer Mentoring Program. "My goal is to touch one person or one family every day," explains Alan. "That is the first line of attack. When someone is hurt, I want to be in the room with them, with the family. I had three phone calls yesterday from different families just thanking me. That's touching one life a day."

Danny is involved in the development of regenerative medicine industry. "I believe that in the next 10-15 years the way medicine is today will change radically," explains Danny. "The development of the regenerative medicine industry will help keep people healthier, cure diseases, and spinal cord injury. I want to leave a legacy to my daughter, not only for spinal cord injury, but all diseases."

In June 2007, Danny's Foundation joined the Reeve Foundation. As part of the merger, Danny established the Daniel Huemann Young Scientists Fund. He, who now resides in Michigan, also became a member of the Reeve Foundation's Board of Directors.

In October 2009, Alan, who now resides in Florida, was elected to the Reeve Foundation Board of Directors focusing on the duel mission of the Foundation, Care and Cure.

Alan T. Brown Elected to the Board of Directors of the Christopher & Dana

Alan T. Brown Elected to the Board of Directors of the Christopher & Dana

Redefining ‘Cured’

Redefining ‘Cured’
A spinal-cord-injury activist puts a new priority on living with—not fighting—paralysis.
By Abby Ellin | Newsweek Web Exclusive

Sep 23, 2009

Ever since 1988, wheelchairs have figured into Alan T. Brown's dreams. That was the year his neck was crushed by an ocean wave at a Club Med in Martinique. He was 20 years old, young and single and free, and in one second went from a vibrant college student to a quadriplegic, with no movement below his chest. The dreams began almost instantly, usually with the wheelchair off to one side, Brown standing nearby. "In the beginning, I was convinced I would walk again—1,000 percent," says Brown, now 42, who runs his own public-relations company in Hollywood, Fla. "My old mottos were 'There's light at the end of the tunnel' and 'Never say never.' I did think there was going to be a cure."

His dreams have changed over the past 22 years. Oh, wheelchairs still loom, but for the most part, Brown is sitting in them. It's not that he's completely abandoned the hope of ever walking again; it's just that after two decades in a seated position, he's got other issues to reckon with. He has had six major surgeries since his injury. His hemoglobin dropped from 15 to seven, and he began passing out regularly. "I'm in pain 24/7—I feel like my body's on fire," says Brown, who suffered 17 urinary-tract infections last year and a bout with a drug-resistant staph infection. "I've had so many surgeries—you have to pick your battles. How you live your life now, what you do to keep yourself going—that counts more than walking."

His attitude has changed so much, in fact, that this year he and his mother, Fran, overhauled the mission statement of the Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis, the nonprofit the family created shortly after Brown's injury. Initially, its goal was to financially support scientific and medical research worldwide with a focus on finding a cure as quickly as possible. And while it is still fundraising today, it has turned away from the hope of an immediate cure.

It was only a few years ago that the wheelchair-bound Christopher Reeve made impassioned pleas about expanding government funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, arguing that patients like him could benefit quickly from scientists' work. But then-president George W. Bush refused to allow government funding of any research that would destroy more human embryos. Reeve died in 2004 from cardiac arrest brought on by a bedsore, a common problem for paralyzed people. And stem-cell research, while still promising, hasn't managed to make Brown and others walk again. And that has left many of the 1,275,000 Americans with spinal-cord injuries rethinking exactly what they might realistically expect in the way of a "cure."

Not that the hope of finding a cure is no longer highly appealing. It's just that the definition of "cure" has radically changed, especially among those who have been injured for more than a few years. After all, if Reeve—who swore that one day he would walk again and had millions of dollars at his disposal—was unable to do so, why would anyone else? So in the summer of 2008, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation changed its slogan from "Go Forward" to "Today's Care. Tomorrow's Cure." "When we first started, our entire focus was to find a cure, to get people walking again," says Reeve Foundation president and CEO Peter Wilderhotter. "As we came to realize that since no injury is completely alike and given the complexity of the spinal cord—there will be no 'magic bullet.' " It is an argument that has raged in many disease-advocacy quarters over the years: when resources are limited, how much should you focus on making daily life better, and how much should you devote to the moonshot?

Brown realized he had to focus his own attention on combating day-to-day challenges, and not on some far-off glimmer of hope. One major battle: fighting with insurance companies, which suddenly refused to cover his nursing expenses. Although he has two insurance policies, only 10 nursing visits are allowed per year. "That's one week," he says, enraged. (His annual out-of-pocket expenses hover around $200,000.) He was tired of having his life, and the lives of his injured friends, thrown around like a "political football." Five years ago, he sued his insurance company after being told that the nurse who came to help him with his bowels and bladder would no longer be covered under his policy. Nor would the insurer pay for his physical therapy. He heard dispiriting stories of insurance companies telling patients to reuse catheters rather than pay for new ones; he knew people who were falling into financial distress because they could no longer afford to pay bills for their routine medical care, which could run as high as $250,000 a year. He says he has been fielding 50 percent more calls over the past year, compared with years past, from patients who have no idea where to turn financially, medically, and emotionally. Walking, right now, is not their top priority.

Brown is lucky enough to have some savings. But according to a study conducted by the Reeve Foundation, about a quarter of U.S. households living with some kind of paralysis have an annual household income of about $10,000 a year, on par with 7 percent of the U.S. population. With that in mind, the Reeve Foundation plans to push for health-policy changes, including ending a federal requirement mandating that disabled people wait two years before their Medicare coverage takes effect. They are also targeting insurance policies that refuse to pay for $400 wheelchair seat cushions that could prevent pressure sores. "Simply put, we need to raise and target as much as we can to find the best minds to find cures as quickly as possible," says Wilderhotter. "But if the object of our affection and attention is not those living with paralysis and their families and caregivers, then we are doing no good."

These difficulties actually arise from some good news: people with spinal-cord injuries are living longer than they were initially expected to. But that also means they are experiencing long-term infections and diseases (like the drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA, or the skin infection cellulitis, for example) that come from being sedentary for so long. When Brown was first injured, for example, he was expected to live until 53. But he fully expects to live longer than that. He is certainly active: sky diving, scuba diving, completing two New York marathons (in his wheelchair). He goes to the gym five days a week, lifts weights three days a week, and swims up to a mile and a half every other day. "My upper body is strong as hell," he says. But as part of the first generation of people living with long-term spinal-cord injuries, Brown is a pioneer. And because no two injuries are alike, he says, "there's no road map for us. There's nothing to tell us how to eat or sleep."

Brown's tenure as a survivor has clearly shaped his changing views. "The longer you live with an injury, the more realistic you become about things in life," says Brown, a catch in his voice. "I used to say to newly injured patients that 'I'm from the Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis and there's going to be a cure someday and we'll all be fine and laugh about this.' And then they I see them 15 years later and they say, 'Remember when you came in?' I felt like I lied to them. You come to a realization that 'this is who I am, this is my life, and I've got to make the best out of it.' I don't think people are giving up; I think people are moving on to live their lives. They're tired of waiting. We are refocusing on life, because you can't just sit around and wait."

Ironically, Brown's new realism comes at just the moment when scientists hope stem-cell research might finally take off. An article published this week in the journal Nature reports on fully paralyzed rats that were able to walk thanks to a combination of drugs and electric stimulation. Human trials are set to begin this year. President Obama signed an executive order in March to relax the previous restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic-stem-cell research. . And in January Geron, a pharmaceutical biotech company, received FDA approval to conduct the first clinical trials using human embryonic stem cells on people with spinal-cord injuries. But the trials, which were slated to begin this past summer (and are now on hold pending an additional FDA review), will be conducted on patients with brand-new injuries. Brown is actually not so disappointed by that. He has no desire to be among the first group of people to test out a "cure." "There's no way my body, after 21 years of sitting down, can suddenly handle standing up," he says. "I want to make sure they get it right before I try it out. When the time comes, I want to walk straight, not sideways or crooked."

Ultimately, Brown believes, the definition of the word "cure" needs to be rethought. So to a quadriplegic, for example, a cure might allow him the chance to feed himself, or take a shower, or recover some hand function or lower-body sensation. To a paraplegic, it might mean recovering bladder function. Brown feels like his wheelchair, called an iBot (invented by Dean Kamen of Segway fame) is a cure of sorts. "It climbs stairs; goes on sand, grass, and gravel; and reaches as high as six feet," he says. "I'm no longer the guy pulling on a guy's jacket trying to get his attention. I can talk to people at eye level."

That said, Brown also feels he's experienced a panacea in the form of his two children, ages 6 and 11. "Being a father is a huge cure. It keeps me going. That's what I live for." And then he pauses, and some of the crack in his armor shows. "My friends and I laugh about it; laughter helps," he says. "But when push comes to shove, a lot of us have our moments. Twenty-one years ago I remember hearing the word 'cure' and it was like, 'Bingo! Bring it on!' Now I'm like, 'Call me when you got it. Figure it out and let me know.' "

Find this article at

Today's Sun-Sentinel Article

I hope you enjoy this article.

Heading Home....

So we left NJ on Thursday morning at 9:30am. We stopped at Tony Luke's in Philly to grab some food for the ride home. This was a great trip. I accomplished so much personally and for the Foundation. On a broader level, meeting with people from many organizations and institutions and networking to try figure out the best way to help people with paralysis was enlightening. I could not have done this drive without Glen (thank you), my wing man.

I had a 2pm tour at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury Kennedy Krieger Outpatient Center (OPC) at John Hopkins. What an impressive state of the art facility! Of course, I ran into a family that the Foundation has helped and it was great to see them. I toured the facility and observed new treatments and equipment. After, I sat down with one of the doctors and discussed outpatient rehabilitation and what is available at different centers throughout the country.

Inadequate insurance coverage is still the main concern—Medicare/Medicaid. We concur that it is imperative to assist people and that the insurance should enable the spinally injured to stay in hospitals for a reasonable amount of time and also be eligible for sessions in a rehab center depending on their level of injury. This is our goal—to bring awareness about these issues and help change guidelines.

After these meetings we met Cousin Mike who was in Baltimore at the Harbour for a quick bite. He gave us 2 cases of fresh Philly pretzels to bring back to Steve Martorano. They were really good. We were back on the road at 7:30pm and drove through the night, arriving home around 10:45am. We had made great time on our return trip to Florida.

I was so glad to see everyone and to do so much the past three weeks, however, there is nothing like being home with the family and sleeping in my own bed. This might be the end of this trip, but my journey to make changes to help others is just starting, you watch. Stay tuned..........

Still Going.........

Yesterday was a day to regroup after the event. I had a great meeting with the staff of The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. We have work to do but we will get it done. I am ready to push this as hard as we have to in order to make an impact and overall change for paralyzed people.

Today I have meetings in NYC for Cafe Martorano's and will see some friends. Tomorrow I start to head south with my first stop at International Center for Spinal Cord Injury Kennedy Krieger Outpatient Center (OPC)at John Hopkins.

The ATBF Golf Event

Yesterday was an amazing day for my foundation. We had The 21st Annual John Vanbiesbrouck Celebrity Golf and Tennis Tournament at Ridgewood Country Club, it was the perfect day for golf. We honored two amazing people Mr. Dean Kamen, Founder/President DEKA Research & Development Corporation & Mr. Robin Smith, President Miami Physical Therapy Associates.

We had so many people in wheelchairs there whose lives the foundation has touched. The warmth and feeling in the room of people wanting to help even more fueled me to take my mission to help others even more. Thank you do everyone who helped yesterday such a success.

Max at camp

Today was a great day up at Max's camp. It was so good to spend time with him. I want to go back to camp.

D.C. to South Philly to N.J.

Yesterday was the wrap up of the Paralysis Task Force Meetings. We went over the suggestions from the groups the day before and made further recommendations as a group to make sure we were on target. It is unbelievable to find out from these meetings how much needs to be done for the Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Community in order to get people what they need to survive and have a decent quality of life.

The most upsetting piece of information I heard was that when newly injured people get hurt, they are pushed out of the hospital in 17 days on average. When I was hurt I spent over 6 months in the hospital. This is unacceptable because when a person and their family's lives change in one split second, 17 days is way too short of a time for one to try to figure out how they will move ahead and try to figure out how to live. The insurance companies could not care less about the physical,emotional and mental part of what one needs to prepare for and they only care about themselves. I am sure that a lot of good will come out of these meetings and am very honored to be involved.

Once the meetings were done we headed to Philly to meet Steve Martorano's best friend Cousin Mike. He took us to all of the classic South Philly places. We went to Jim's, Tony Luke's, Cosmi's Pastries and Pop's Water Ice. From there we shot up the Jersey Turnpike and were so glad to be done with all of the long driving until we head home.

D. C. DAY 2

Today we had great meetings for the Paralysis Task Force. We had four topics that we had break out sessions on, from the brainstorms we will make recommendations which will lead to quality of life issues and ultimately change.

At lunch myself and three other individuals in wheelchairs talked about living in a wheelchair and what quality of life means to each of us. Tomorrow we will go over everything from today's sessions. We are on the right track, stay tuned...

D.C. Day 1

Had a few meetings and took in the city a little bit. After meeting people attending Paralysis Task Force Workshop through The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, I see people coming together to get people living in wheelchairs better quality of life.

I had dinner with an old friend Scott Chesney and caught up on old times and our futures.


So we had a good drive from N.C. to D.C. we arrived around 11:30pm. What a scenic drive through the Tennessee Mountains and through VA. I played co-pilot this time, The Biltmore Estate is one of the most amazing piece's of property I have ever seen. Here are some pictures of the Estate, Winery, Gardens and more.

Today is a day of meetings, conference calls and catch up. I really am excited about seeing this group work together to bring Paralysis and it's issues to the forefront and come up with a plan to help everyone who is struggling and identify our needs in order for us to live a better quality of life. Stay tuned


So I drove 11 hours to Ashville straight through and made great time. It is so nice here with all of the mountains and clean air. I definitely do not miss the 95 degree heat and humidity. Today I plan on checking out the area and The Biltmore Estate and all it has

I just found out that the Newsweek story that was supposed to come out tomorrow will now come out next Monday the 27th.