CRAIG HOSPITAL FOUNDATION CONTACT
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Englewood, Colo. — Cameren Nelson, a Craig Hospital patient, was presented with a new power wheelchair at an event at Craig on Nov. 19. The chair was donated by the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. Nelson is the 14th Craig patient or graduate to receive a wheelchair through the Foundation.
Nelson, a 20-year-old resident of Hankinson, N.D., was paralyzed in a diving accident on Aug.16. Nelson dove off a dock in a local lake and hit a sandbar, breaking his C5 and C6 vertebrae. After surgery and two weeks at a hospital in Fargo, he was transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. for rehabilitation.
“When I got to Craig, I was able to get into a wheelchair and we immediately started working, getting me stronger,” he says. “Having an injury like this is very hard, but I’m very grateful for what I do have.”
Nelson has regained some movement on the left side of his body and hopes that he will continue to see improvement over the next year.
Gail Gilinsky-Yount, Craig Hospital occupational therapist, feels that Nelson is an ideal recipient of the wheelchair. “He has such an upbeat attitude, even when it’s hard,” she says. “I’ve never met a more appreciative kid or family.”
Nelson will discharge from Craig on Nov. 20 and will return home to live at his parent’s house in Hankinson. He plans to spend the next year focusing on outpatient therapy and hopes to eventually return to college at North Dakota State College of Science to study machining or physical therapy.
He is very grateful for the gift of a new wheelchair because it will give him a chance to get out of the house. “With this chair I’ll be able to do things with my mom and dad, go to social events, and see my friends and family,” he says. “I won’t have to be a loner in my room feeling sad—this chair is going to change a lot in my life.”
In 1990, Darrell Gwynn was at the height of his career as a professional race car driver. Then, on a test run in England, an accident left him paralyzed with a spinal cord injury. Together with his wife Lisa, he founded the Darrell Gwynn Foundation in 2002 to provide awareness, prevention, support and ultimately a cure for paralysis.
The foundation’s Wheelchair Donation Program donates approximately 35-50 wheelchairs every year to deserving individuals. In order to apply for the program, recipients and their families must demonstrate a medical and financial need for the new wheelchair. Unlike many other wheelchair donation programs and related charities, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation specializes in high-tech, customized wheelchairs. While standard manual wheelchairs are valued at approximately $350, the wheelchairs the Darrel Gwynn Foundation provides are valued anywhere from $6,000 to $40,000 depending on the medical needs of the recipient.
Sound with: Mike Fordyce, Craig Hospital President & CEO; Kim Nelson, Cameren's Mother; Cameren Nelson, Wheelchair Recipient
About Darrell Gwynn and the Darrell Gwynn Foundation
Founded in 2002 by Champion Drag Racer Darrell Gwynnand his wife Lisa, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide awareness, prevention, support and ultimately a cure for paralysis. In an effort to create more awareness about spinal cord injuries, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation successfully lobbied for an established Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week with a resolution passed by the Florida Legislature in 2006. The foundation operates an Education & Prevention Program directed to high school students to educate them on the dangers of risky behavior that can lead to spinal cord injuries. This rapidly growing program reaches over 10,000 students annually at over 50 high schools. The foundation’s primary support program is its national Wheelchair Donation Program. With this program the Darrell Gwynn Foundation has donated custom built wheelchairs to hundreds of individuals in need. The foundation also maintains a model Patient Assitance Fund offering support services and tools at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado with aspirations to expand this model to several hospitals nationwide. The Patient Assistance Fund also supports the Betty Jane France Pediatric Center, at Halifax Hospital in Daytona, Fla. and Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. Additionally the foundation provides financial support through its Fast Track Laboratory with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis aimed at finding a cure for paralysis. www.darrellgwynnfoundation.org
About the Craig Hospital Foundation
The Craig Hospital Foundation supports the Craig Hospital in achieving its goals through philanthropy. Operating in accordance with the philosophy of Craig Hospital, the Foundation builds lifelong relationships with contributors, raises funds and dedicates its resources to further advance the needs of Craig Hospital and those it serves. Guided by a dedicated and civic-minded board of directors, the Craig Hospital Foundation offers members of the community a number of meaningful ways to support the hospital’s work helping people rebuild their lives. www.craighospital.org/foundation
About Craig Hospital
Craig Hospital is a world-renowned center for specialty rehabilitation and research for people with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Craig is a 93-bed, private, not-for-profit, free-standing long-term acute care and rehabilitation hospital that provides a comprehensive system of inpatient and outpatient medical care, rehabilitation, neurosurgical rehabilitative care, and long-term follow-up services. Half of Craig’s patients come from outside of Colorado, and in the past four years the hospital treated patients from all 50 states and several foreign countries. At any given time, the staff at Craig treats approximately 55 inpatients with spinal cord injuries, 30 with traumatic brain injuries, and 50-60 outpatients. Craig provides housing for out-of-state families and outpatients, including the first 30 days free for families of new inpatients. www.craighospital.org