After moving to Atlanta over a year ago I knew I needed to get involved. I WANTED to get involved. Involved with a cause, a big cause. A cause that is making a difference. Making a difference here in Atlanta but also nationwide. When I was introduced to Jr. Committee and what it is doing for the Shepherd Center and their recreational therapy program I knew it was the one for me.
Shepherd Center is a not-for-profit, hospital located in Atlanta, GA. It's one of the nation's leading hospitals specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and other neurological conditions.
Recently a close friend of mine's step father, Jimbo, was admitted to Shepherd Center after a stroke & 2 brain hemorrhages. Originally a recovery did not look promising for Jimbo, but now that they are here in Atlanta at the Shepherd Center nothing is impossible in terms of recovery. When I found out that the Shepherd Center was going to be Jimbo's saving grace I knew it was time to get to it & start raising money because this wonderful place is helping people I know and love.
I have been familiar with Shepherd Center for many years as a classmate of mine, Michelle Kinsella, spent 4 months here in high school. Michelle was in a terrible car accident that resulted in traumatic brain injury. While Michelle does not remember most of her stay at Shepherd Center due the the severeness of her accident she recalls being treated like the 16 year old she was. While most hospitals tend to overlook the age they are dealing with but rather focus on the injury itself. They understood she was an active teenager and wanted to continue to do fun things, and therapy involved activities outside, going to the mall, and things that kept her interested.
These "fun things" Michelle is talking about is what I am raising money for. Recreation therapy. Recreation Therapy provides patients an opportunity to participate in activities that challenge expectations and stereotypes. The goals of the program are to improve physical, cognitive, and/or social functioning and to return the individual to as independent, active and healthy a lifestyle as possible. These goals are achieved through leisure counseling/leisure education, leisure skill instruction, and community reintegration.
Because of these amazing programs at Shepherd Center Michelle was able to
walk RUN the St. Jude 5k last winter when 8 years ago Michelle was unsure she would even be able to walk again. When talking to Michelle she said, "since Shepherd was my first place I went to I can only credit for the fact that I can walk, talk, swallow, and basically live the life and have the job that I want as a preschool teacher."
Being able to give back to somewhere in my own (new) backyard is an incredible feeling, but what is even more incredible is that they help people from all over, including my hometown.
I hope you feel inclined to donate. Please let me know if you'd like to find other ways to get involved with a cause that is doing so much!
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