Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

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Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

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Chapter Leadership Meeting Opens Door to New Opportunities

Fifty-five members representing 26 of United Spinal’s NSCIA member chapters gathered in Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 11-13 for the 2014 Chapter Leadership Meeting. In addition to substantive discussions about the present and future of United Spinal Association, the weekend offered plenty of time for attendees to connect and share their questions and tricks of the trade.

CLM 14

For an insider’s perspective, here is Rick Hayden from the Southern California Chapter:

This was my rookie year attending the Chapter Leadership Meeting and the wealth of knowledge brought together at the event amazed me. On topics where I was well versed, I looked to learn more, and on topics where I was weak, I tried to be that sponge that just soaked up all that I could. Speakers presented in a succinct, efficient format, sharing their knowledge yet leaving time for the chapter representatives to ask questions and share individual stories.

The balance between presenters, Q-and-A, open discussion and social time with new and old friends seemed perfect. For me, representing one of the newest chapters, getting the opportunity to ask questions of the people representing the more established chapters was priceless. I gained a greater awareness of the many programs and affiliates of United Spinal, especially those targeting veterans’ issues.

Jim Weisman shared the history of NSCIA, while Washington, D.C., policies were updated. It was a pleasure and honor to co-present “Fundraising: Strategies & Techniques” alongside George Gallego and Megan Duffy. Establishing a committee to assemble a “Guide to Fundraising” was just one of the many highlights.

The hands-on presentation of the ReWalk was fascinating while the MV-1 tour created one of the best photo opportunities of the meeting, the entire group warming up to the camera. When I was back home and had a moment to digest all that I had experienced, I realized just how much I had taken back with me. I felt renewed, and during our most recent board meeting, I shared much of what I had learned. A new strategy was developed that will make us a more complete chapter. You can’t buy that type of knowledge and inspiration.