Tag Archives: injury fundraising

New Video: Fundraising Changed My Life After A Spinal Cord Injury

In 2007, Jeff Harris was enjoying July 4 on the beach with friends when the unthinkable happened. “We were kicking a soccer ball around on the beach and my buddy kicked the ball in the water,” explained Jeff. As he dove into the water, “I hit right around the top of my head at the right angle, at the right speed, at the right tilt of the universe.”

Jeff broke his neck and became a C6 quadriplegic.

After they dealt with the initial shock and emotional trauma of Jeff’s injury, his family quickly began to realize how expensive life with paralysis would be. “It’s almost hopeless to get insurance companies to provide what these spinal cord injury patients need to have a great life,” said Jeff’s mom, Jan.

Jeff was facing extreme out-of-pocket expenses and co-pays. “Wheelchairs cost tens of thousands of dollars,” said Jeff, and that’s not to mention “medical bills and daily supplies” he would need for the rest of his life. Fundraising with HelpHOPELive changed Jeff’s life. “HelpHOPELive was a life ring for us,” said Jeff’s dad, Steve. “They know what works and they are able to give advice to folks like us who have never done this sort of thing before.”

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With support from their community, Jeff and his family planned an annual fundraiser that incorporated curling, one of Jeff’s biggest passions before his injury. The Curl-a-thon in honor of Jeff will soon enter its tenth year. “For these two days when we hold the Curl-a-thon, I am so humbled,” said dad Steve. “Everyone in Jeff’s sphere was just looking for a way to help him.

We’re proud to present our newest HelpHOPELive video featuring Jeff’s fundraising story. Tell us what you think by Tweeting @HelpHOPELiveOrg!

Jeff Harris HelpHOPELive Curl-a-Thon

Fundraising has helped Jeff to pursue independence and mobility

Motivated By Love, One Family Launched The ‘Project’ Of A Lifetime

Paul Pickard founded Project Walk Atlanta in 2011 with his wife, Jeannie, and his son, Chris, who was paralyzed in a car accident when he was 18 years old. We asked Paul about spinal cord injury rehabilitation and his motivation for opening Project Walk Atlanta.

Project Walk Atlanta staff


What did you know about Project Walk when you founded Project Walk Atlanta?


Other than knowing that God placed it on our heart to build the facility in Atlanta, I really didn’t know that much about the PW network. When we founded our center, there was no research or due diligence before building. As crazy as it sounds, in the middle of a recession, we built PWA solely on faith, without a business plan.

What I know today about the four Project Walk centers — located in Orlando, Kansas City, Dallas and Austin — is that they are all very passionate about helping people with spinal cord injuries. These centers opened because there was a serious need in their community and their lives. Each center is filled with love and compassion for its clients.


Can services like the ones offered at Project Walk Atlanta significantly improve quality of life for people who have spinal cord injuries?


All human bodies require movement and some level of exercise. At a bare minimum, people with spinal cord injuries learn how to get their body moving to connect with their paralyzed limbs. Daily quality of life factors such as eating, scratching an itch, brushing teeth, etc. are addressed with our services by training the neuromuscular system.

Project Walk Sarah


What are some examples of modern spinal cord injury therapy equipment or technology used at Project Walk Atlanta?


We are fortunate to carry the entire suite of Restorative Therapy Functional Electrical Stimulation machines: RT600, RT300 and RT200. FES coordinates neuromuscular re- education by firing respective muscles in the same order as when a person moves. Some other exciting pieces of equipment:

-The locomotor treadmill is an innovative intervention that helps individuals with gait impairments. The technique is an activity-based therapy that works to retrain the spinal cord to “remember” the pattern of walking again.

Vibration platform training excites additional muscle fibers to become engaged, improves bone density, and increases circulation and aerobic capacity.

Tissue regenerative technology uses shock wave energy for tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue around the injury point and activating the autonomic nervous system.

The Bioness H200 is electrical stimulation prosthetic for the hands.

Project Walk Nick


Which innovations or technological advances are you most excited about for the future?


Dr. Scott Bertrand’s core development and training devices are promising. Currently in use at his office in Georgia, this device uses rotational mechanics of an isolated muscle contraction on each side of your core to fully engage activity. Other devices that are promising involve body weight-supported gait training which measures speed, stride length, stride width, tempo and weight-bearing percentage to drive performance improvements. And, finally, a new device being made for clinical use is exciting: an EMG portable unit that will measure exact muscle activity, providing the user and the clinician the ability to discern appropriate techniques leading to neuromuscular activity below the level of injury for our clients.


Did your son’s injury influence your outlook on spinal cord damage, therapy, or life in general?


I find myself not complaining as much anymore because I really, really hate this injury with a passion. In a flash of a second, your entire life changes forever. It doesn’t creep up on you; it just annihilates your world.

Chris Pickard Jeanie Pickard Paul Pickard Project Walk Atlanta Georgia


Does Chris continue to make progress with his own rehabilitation journey?


Rehabilitation takes form in several ways. It is not only physical; it is also spiritual and mental. Chris has made great strides in all three.


What keeps your family moving forward?


FAITH, without a doubt. The strength that our faith in Jesus Christ has given us is the glue that has held us together. There were many nights spent crying, asking God for answers and even getting angry with God. We will never understand nor should we expect to. Without faith and prayer, this injury could become overwhelming at times.


Does your family’s personal experience give you unique insights to share with other families who come to Project Walk Atlanta?


You learn very quickly how to adapt to this injury. At Project Walk Atlanta, every client becomes part of a bigger family that shares and loves one another. We are there to pray with you or cry — whichever!

Project Walk Joe


Is cost a significant barrier to SCI rehabilitation for some families?


Cost is the biggest barrier. If you have a premium insurance policy, you might get reimbursed 75%. Otherwise, you have to rely on fundraising. Although we try to provide scholarships when we can, it is very important that we teach our clients how to fundraise. The average person has never asked for money or knows how. Although there are many online fundraising sites, I always point them to HelpHOPELive where they will get the best guidance to raise funds.


Based on your son Chris’s fundraising efforts with HelpHOPELive, what are some of the costs that SCI-affected families can expect to face 3 to 5 years after injury?


Medical supplies, housing adaptation, standing frames, FES bikes and vehicle modification are a few expenses that can be anticipated


What piece(s) of advice would you offer to someone who was recently injured? What would you tell his or her family?


The advice that I would give someone is to begin fundraising early. This injury is so devastating on families financially that most families can end up in bankruptcy. Everything is so expensive and most insurance will not pay for long-term therapy. Medicaid pays for catheters but won’t pay for suppositories. Go figure!


The PWA website notes: “Everyone needs hope. Without hope you can’t recover.” Do you think that hope or a positive attitude can alter the rehabilitation process?


Absolutely. Without hope, what do you have? Every person affected by spinal cord injury has or once had hope that he or she would recover. Unfortunately, most acute hospitals’ doctors knock the wind from your sail by making statements like “you will not ever walk again” or “get used to the wheelchair.” At the end of the day, only God knows what anyone’s outcome really is.

I know many people that were told they would never walk and now they are beginning to take their first steps, crawl or even walk again. It is that hope and the belief in themselves that helped them get to that point.

Project Walk equipment


Connect with Project Walk Atlanta on Facebook to learn more about spinal cord injury rehabilitation. You can follow Chris Pickard’s journey on his Campaign Page.

 

Fundraising With HelpHOPELive: Your First Steps

Once you have decided to move forward with fundraising, it’s time to start engaging your community! Talk to your HelpHOPELive Fundraising Coordinator about your family, friends and local area so we can help you decide which fundraising approach will work best for your campaign.

to do list notebook gray desk


If you’re not sure where to begin, these ideas will get you started:

  • My aunt Mary is a teacher. Could I ask Mary about holding a fundraiser through her school?
  • My friend Joseph is an avid golfer. Could a golf tournament be our big fundraising event for this year?
  • My town holds a yearly Strawberry Festival and a 5K Race to benefit a local citizen. How can I contact my town administration to find out more about getting involved in these upcoming events to raise money for HelpHOPELive?
  • I’m active in my church or faith community. Could we have a special collection in my honor or distribute my HelpHOPELive appeal letter to members?
  • My 10-year high school reunion is coming up. How can I get in touch with some of my former classmates who are local or live out-of-state?
  • A friend of my parents sells kitchen storage containers. Would she be willing to hold a container-buying party in my honor?
  • Before I worked with HelpHOPELive, my friends helped me hold a local Dinner Dance. Since that was a big success, maybe we can hold a similar event this year?
  • My cousin, my sister and my friend Marie all asked how they could help or support me as soon as I was diagnosed. Can I reach out to these contacts first to ask for help with planning, promoting and staffing my next event?

You can find a list of fundraising event ideas online in your HelpHOPELive Dashboard. Contact your Fundraising Coordinator today if you’re ready to start planning your event!

5 Refreshing Summer Fundraising Ideas

Here are 5 great ideas for summer medical fundraising from our experts.


1. Approach a local ice cream or frozen yogurt shop.

Ask the owners if they’d be willing to designate one day this summer during which a percentage of all purchases will be donated to a HelpHOPELive Campaign.

ice cream


2. Track down yearly summer festivals.

You may be able to speak to the festival organizer so that a portion of proceeds from an upcoming festival are given to HelpHOPELive in your honor.

summer color run festival celebrate rainbow


3. Look for outdoor selling opportunities.

You may be able to sell chocolate bars, custom t-shirts or other items at an upcoming outdoor event like a craft festival or multi-family yard sale. You can also ask event planners if you can set up coin banks at their outdoor events.

piggy bank shake spare change Olsen twins Full House


4. Choose a summer-friendly venue.

Cooling off is on everyone’s mind — cater to your supporters by holding your next fundraiser at a local pool or water park. Approach venues ahead of time to ask about your fundraising options.

summer pool relax swim diving board


5. Raffle off summer chores.

No one wants to think about chores on a beautiful summer afternoon. Ask your friends if they’d be willing to donate their time for an upcoming raffle. You could raffle off:

  • An hour of weeding or gardening
  • Pool cleaning
  • Four hours of babysitting for a summer date night
  • Swimming lessons
  • And more!

dog chores list funny


Need help planning your summer fundraiser? Reach out to us on Facebook or on Twitter. Our fundraising experts are here to help.