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Thread: Part I: Hunting for a miracle, grasping at a chance/ Project Walk

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    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Cool Part I: Hunting for a miracle, grasping at a chance/ Project Walk

    Part I: Hunting for a miracle, grasping at a chance

    By PAULINE ARRILLAGA – 3 days ago
    It was only a chair, but it had become his purgatory.
    Each day that John Pou spent in the wheelchair, his spirit seemed to die a little more. It was a perpetual reminder of the calamity that had brought him and Marci, even the kids, to this place.
    The chair stood for all that was lost: A promising career as a policeman, a vigorous life spent in karate classes and fishing the lakes of his beloved North Carolina, future plans conjured when things were perfect — plans that seemed irrelevant and impossible now.
    Their home, too, the dream house John had worked on with his own hands, felt like a taunting monument to his inadequacies: The pool where he could no longer swim or play chicken with Chase and Kacie, the garden he could no longer tend, the front door he couldn't enter without a makeshift ramp for his wheelchair.
    That chair, affixed to him like an unwanted limb.
    It had been eight months since John shattered his C-5 vertebra diving over a wave during a family vacation. Eight months spent in either a hospital bed or that detestable chair.
    Eight months, also, for Marci to hunt for the miracle that just might bring him and their family back from despair.
    And now, staring at her laptop, she prayed she had found it.
    On the video, a quadriplegic was doing leg pushes on a Total Gym, riding a stationary bike — walking, even, with support crutches in each hand. His wheelchair was parked behind him.
    Marci clicked on another link, and saw a paralyzed man working his legs with weights and lifting himself, using a ballet barre for assistance, from a sitting position to standing.
    John couldn't even reach for a glass of tea without losing his balance and flopping forward in his chair.
    "How are they doing that?" Marci thought.
    She studied the clips again. Then again.
    It was an April night in 2006, and John was in bed with a urinary tract infection and a fever of 104.8 degrees — their latest taste of misery. But sitting at her kitchen table, looking at videos of the clients at this "recovery" center in California, Marci felt a trace of optimism return.
    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j...AErpgD90E95G80

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    Paralyzed man takes pride in small miracles

    Paralyzed man takes pride in small miracles


    Pauline Arrillaga
    May 5, 2008 - 10:42PM
    EDITOR'S NOTE - After months at Project Walk, quadriplegic John Pou had made progress but it was frustratingly slow, and the strain on family finances and especially on the children was building. He and wife Marci had to decide whether to continue in California, or return home to North Carolina. In the conclusion of AP's three-part serial narrative, A Wish to Walk, they make their fateful choice.

    The trip home was, in every way, bittersweet.

    The kids were thrilled, back with friends and the house they had missed so much. They could swim in the privacy of their home in the woods of North Carolina, instead of an apartment pool in California.

    John and Marci Pou had hoped, of course, to be returning under different circumstances. But as they had approached their one-year anniversary at Project Walk, they knew something had to give.

    Money was too tight, and the children's emotions seesawed between adjustment out west and their unfinished lives back east, where belongings and even a beloved cat remained.

    http://www.themonitor.com/news/john_...alk_marci.html

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    She dreams of walking

    She dreams of walking
    Spinal-injury patients put hopes in therapy
    By Susan Glairon
    Longmont Times-Call


    If Marnie Ohlfs could do anything, she would tuck her two boys in at night. She’d play tag with them in the park and drive them to get ice cream after school.
    Ohlfs, a Parker resident who grew up in Longmont, has been in a wheelchair since a Nov. 2, 2003, car accident caused a spinal cord injury that left her legs weak and uncoordinated and her hand muscles rigid. She originally was paralyzed from the chest down but regained some function over time.
    “I want to be the kind of mom I was before the accident,” said Ohlfs, 43.
    She hopes to walk again.
    Because of that dream, she hasn’t moved from the two-story home she and her husband bought shortly before the accident. She can’t get upstairs to tuck her sons in bed; she hasn’t yet learned to drive with her hands.
    She plans to travel with her family at the end of May to San Diego for six weeks of therapy at Project Walk, a nonprofit exercise-based center for those with spinal cord injuries.
    She has been to Project Walk and has heard stories that others with spinal injuries have walked after therapy at the clinic. She also gained more movement in her legs when she was there.
    Project Walk founder Ted Dardzinski said most of the center’s clients don’t go home walking but do return in better physical condition.
    “We don’t promise anything,” Dardzinski said.
    But he said some people do walk again. Recovery depends on how hard the person works, the injury type and the time elapsed since the injury, he said. Project Walk does not accept insurance, and Ohlfs estimates it will cost $15,000 for six weeks of therapy and lodging. Although her husband, Michael, a financial adviser with Charles Shwab and an intelligence officer in the U.S. Naval reserves, will use paid vacation and sick time, part of the trip includes unpaid family leave, not included in the $15,000 estimate.

    http://www.timescall.com/Health-Story.asp?id=8469

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