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John Baumbach's Fundraiser:

Help Chad Walk

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EVENT DATE: Mar 20, 2011

John Baumbach


On December 5, 2001, two weeks away from turning 21, Chad went snowboarding at Kirkwood Resort, Ca. Snowboarding was his favorite sport and he’d been on this jump dozens of times. Weather conditions changed, it began to snow and snow on his fogged goggles prevented him from knowing where the bottom of the jump was. He landed flat on his back; his friends watching him knew immediately he couldn’t move his body.

He was lifted to Washoe Medical Center, Reno for immediate surgery to remove broken bone from his spinal cord. He was totally paralyzed. His breathing was shallow and heart rate slowing quickly. We were told Chad would never walk again. Surgery was successful and he received feeling in his legs and had arm movement. His next surgery was at Stanford and was very successful also. His neck was rebuilt with rods and screws. Feeling came back to his entire body.

Chad suffered a level C5/C6 incomplete spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the chest down. He was always a gifted athlete, loved all sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding, golf and fishing. He had been living on his own and ready to attend college in Long Beach. Chad was relocated to Santa Clara Valley Med Center in San Jose and remained there three months. He was told to get used to living in his chair.

After arriving back home in Lodi, CA, we scrambled to find vigorous therapy to keep Chad from regressing. Chad attended water therapy two times a week for about a year and the best therapy we could find was minimal.

After 2 years in a chair and searching online for new hope, he found Project Walk. Their website stated that they push though all traditional barriers for physical therapy and don’t accept "No"as an answer. They have a positive, supportive atmosphere in which the chair is not viewed as the end. Clients are encouraged to continue until all goals are met. Chad arrived in Carlsbad, June 20 2004, ready for hard work and to begin a new chapter in his life. His dedication and commitment to his goals make him an excellent client. He always arrives at therapy focused to work hard and determined to achieve his maximum potential. After three years of determination and optimism, Chad experienced huge results. He regained use of his leg muscles and began taking a few steps in a walker with assistance. Never giving up, the few steps led to many more, eventually making his way to almost one hundred steps with limited assistance.

Insurance does not cover Chad’s treatment, nor did it cover his housing costs, caretaker and living expenses. His monthly expenses ran around $10,000. The financial burden was too much to handle after three years and Chad was forced to look into other alternatives. Chad eventually moved back home to Lodi, CA.

At the same time, two of Chad’s trainers that he had worked with everyday had decided to move and open their own facility called SCI-FIT in Northern California… it couldn’t have come at any better time. Within the short time of finding out, Chad began working out there and was pleased with the progress he experienced.

Chad sees a light at the end of this tunnel...we can’t stop at this point after making so much progress. We are reaching out and asking for help. Our fundraising efforts will ensure continued physical therapy opportunities for Chad as he moves forward on his journey toward a more independent lifestyle.



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