My faith led me to Craig. As a transplant to Colorado in 1989, I had heard about Craig in a news story. It was in 2002 that I felt that God was nudging me and telling me that this was a place I should check out. I made some calls and began volunteering for the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy departments.
One day when I was attending an outing with Craig, a patient broke down and confided that he didn’t know how he could possibly pay for the equipment he would need when he went home. I thought about it, talked with my wife, Victoria, and realized that I could do more for patients like him.
In consultation with then-CEO Denny O’Malley and then-Craig Foundation Director Barb Page, I began to study the feasibility of raising money specifically to provide durable medical equipment to patients in need. Using my background in sales and marketing, I launched an extensive outreach campaign, and in conjunction with Denny and Barb, we raised more than $500,000 for the fund in 2004, the fund’s first full year in existence. We dubbed it “Project EQL: Equipment for a Quality Life.” In the years since then, the fund has helped hundreds of patients.
Victoria and I are honored to be able to “pay it forward” in support of Craig, including leaving a portion of our estate to the hospital through our membership in the Frank Craig Society. We have found that in philanthropy, the person who is doing the giving gets the majority of the benefits. We feel grateful knowing that we are able to help people in need.
Project EQL: Equipment for a Quality Life
From the time of a patient’s admission, Craig teams are thinking ahead about the adaptive equipment and support the individual and his or her family will need at discharge. Project EQL exists to ensure that every patient at Craig returns home with the basic adaptive equipment that will maximize overall function, health and life quality, regardless of the patient’s financial or insurance status.
Equipment needs are unique to each patient. Examples include power or manual wheelchairs, a lift that allows family members to transfer their loved one into a bed, a shower chair that enables daily self-care, and other tools that advance safety, independence, opportunity and dignity.
A person with an acute spinal cord injury, for example, requires basic adaptive equipment that ranges in cost from $86,150 to $118,600, depending on the injury. The majority of insurance companies do not cover these expenses fully. These costs are on top of the already immense financial burdens associated with catastrophic injury.
When Craig’s clinical care managers discover that insurance, family resources and other funding options are inadequate to cover the cost of needed equipment for a patient, Project EQL bridges the gap. Each year, generous contributors to Project EQL help 170 to 200 recently injured patients whose income or insurance benefits would otherwise be insufficient to pay for basic adaptive equipment. Project EQL funds are paid directly to equipment suppliers. By ensuring access to essential adaptive equipment, supporters of Project EQL make it possible for every Craig graduate to resume his or her life with greater ease, independence, safety and dignity.