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Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
By: Elizabeth Kumar, Communications Manager
I remember the day well when my life changed in an instant. I was home for Thanksgiving Break after parent teacher conferences in 2004. I was only 24 years old and was a full-time classroom teacher. My parents convinced me not to drive home that night because I looked like I wasn't feeling well. It was also getting kind of dark outside and my parents were a little overprotective like most parents.  Luckily, I was home because what started off as a full blown migraine led to sharp pins and needles in my legs and finally my life changed forever. I slide down my bed trying to get up and the last movement, which I remember vividly, was lifting my right leg ever so slightly with intense effort. Instantly I was paralyzed from the chest down. My mother was a night nurse and my father was sound asleep. I tried calling for him but he did not get up. I decided to call my mother at work.  She said to call 911 and tell them to bring me to her hospital which was out of the way for the ambulance but they kindly took me there.  It took my father a little while to realize I really couldn't move.  My first thought was, how I am supposed to go back to work. I didn't have any tears for at least two weeks after my paralysis. Each year I celebrate this day. You may ask why celebrate such as day. I say everyone goes through something in their lives that makes them stronger and hopefully a better person. I celebrate my accomplishments since that day in 2004.

 

 
 
Each year there are about 17,000 new cases of SCI each year.  That is 54 cases per one million people.  With all of this in mind, U.S. Senate Resolution 533 recognizes the month of September 2019 as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. This resolution is a follow-up to S.Res. 211, which has celebrated each September in the same way since 2013 by calling to attention to the severity of spinal cord injuries and the ongoing need for research to find a cure.
 
In addition to the U.S. Senate dedicating the month to awareness about this particular issue, other things can be done to help raise awareness about spinal cord injuries during this month. These include raising funds for research and awareness, hosting a community event or distributing SCI educational materials, creating a list if resources for SCI survivors and their families. Take the time to understand that although someone may have a spinal cord injury that does not define who they are.

Below are some resources and educational materials for those who are interested to learn more about spinal cord injuires. 
https://msktc.org/sci

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