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Thank you for supporting Craig Hospital on Colorado Gives Day

The Craig Hospital Foundation raised $67,322 from 264 generous donors on Colorado Gives Day, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.

Presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day is a 24-hour period to “Give where you live” by making online donations to the hundreds of charities featured on Community First Foundation’s online giving resource,

Craig Hospital also qualifies for a portion of a one million dollar Incentive Fund donated by the Community First Foundation and First Bank. Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day receives a portion of the incentive fund, which increases the value of every dollar donated.

The money raised by Craig on Colorado Gives Day will provide direct financial assistance to patients and Craig Hospital programs like Therapeutic Recreation, the PEAK Center, Music Therapy and the Community Reintegration Program.

Thank you for helping Craig Hospital patients like Ben and Kirsten:

Ben Hernandez: Getting Healthy and Giving Back

When he was 19, Ben Hernandez was on his way to a job site when the vehicle he was in hit a tree. The accident left Ben facing what would be one of his biggest challenges and greatest motivators: A spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. He arrived at Craig Hospital in October, 1998 and rehabbed at Craig for two months before returning home to Florida.

Missing the culture of Craig and the expertise of Craig Hospital staff, Ben moved to Colorado in 2005 to focus on his independence and wellness. Ben is grateful to Craig Hospital’s award winning SCI Nurse Advice Line for guiding him through spinal cord injury related health concerns over the years. Through his workouts at Craig Hospital’s PEAK Center, an adaptive wellness facility for individuals with neurological conditions to optimize their recovery, Ben gained the strength to transition from a motorized chair to a manual chair and in the process lost over 75 pounds. With his focus on “fitness and philanthropy,” he enjoys adventurous opportunities offered through Craig’s Therapeutic Recreation (T-Rec) and volunteers his time with Craig Hospital Foundation’s Community Engagement Team. Ben has also returned to work as a peer mentor and he is thankful to Craig for giving him the skills to be successful in the workforce. According to Ben, “It is important to seize opportunities and take advantage of what we are offered.”

Kirsten Steinke: Getting Back to Living

On her honeymoon in New Zealand, Kirsten Steinke and her husband, Kallan, were in a tragic car crash as their vehicle collided with a cement truck. Kallan was pronounced dead at the scene while Kirsten was rushed to a local intensive care unit. “My parents were told that they could come visit me in New Zealand but were warned that, with the severity of my brain injury, I probably wouldn’t live and that if I did, I would be in a vegetative state for the rest of my life.” After two weeks, Kirsten regained consciousness and weeks later she returned to the United States.

Kirsten’s parents, Gerri and Jim, researched the best brain injury hospitals in the United States and learned that Craig Hospital was just down the road from where they lived in Highlands Ranch, CO. They knew Craig Hospital was where Kirsten would make strides in her rehabilitation. Kirsten was admitted to Craig in October, 2012. While at Craig, Kirsten relearned to do what once seemed so natural. Through speech and physical therapies, she relearned to walk and talk. 

Kirsten participated in Therapeutic Recreation (T-Rec) and one of her favorite memories was going Christmas shopping on a T-Rec outing and being able to buy gourmet coffee and creamers for them as a pre-Christmas surprise. “My parents were so supportive during my rehabilitation and this was the first time I was able to do something for them,” Kirsten says. Kirsten discharged a few days before Christmas, happy to go home for the holidays. 

Soon after, Kirsten began outpatient occupational therapy at Craig. Where is she now? Kirsten recently moved into her own apartment and is working her first professional job since her injury. She also looks forward to driving again, with the assistance of the adaptive driving program at Craig.

Thank you for supporting Craig Hospital on Colorado Gives Day!