John Wassen lost all control of his body from the neck down after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in a construction accident in 2007. He still has high hopes for achieving a full recovery one day, or at least the use of his arms so he can hold his daughters in his arms again. Wassen hasn’t let his injury stop him from achieving his goals and changing the world one family at a time. A year ago, Wassen, his wife Tamie, and their friends Jim and Skip Tennancour started the Spinal Cord Injury Fund (SCIF).
Five spinal cord injury afflicted families have received a total of $40,000 worth of assistance from SCIF since its inception, according to an article in the Brownsburg Star. Using their own experience of coping with life with a spinal cord injury, the Wassens direct funds where they are needed the most.
Cindy Parker suffered a spinal cord injury after a tumor impinged on her spinal column. After doctors removed the tumor, Parks was left with only 45 percent of her original body function. She discovered a brace that would free her from a wheelchair and walking with crutches. However, Parks couldn’t afford the down payment, let alone the entire $3,900 for the brace. She applied for a grant from SCIF and received a check for the brace in about a week, the article said.
An Indianapolis spinal cord injury survivor received a customized van, a Muncie man received a check to pay for home renovations to accommodate his wheelchair, another Indianapolis man received a quad rugby wheelchair, and a Spencer man was given funds to remodel his bathroom to enable him to make use of his bathtub again, the article reported.
While each case consists of small improvements upon a difficult situation, SCIF’s beneficence cannot be overstated. The boons of comfort and easier transportation can have life-changing effects on people suffering from spinal cord injuries. A small change in circumstances can mean a huge change in state of mind. A change in state of mind often inspires people to greater ambition and motivation.
While other groups focus their efforts on much-needed research and future treatments and cures, the SCIF focuses on the immediate needs of individuals and their families. While they wait for better treatments and future cures, the SCIF has made the lives of at least a few people immediately better.
Duke, Josh. (March 11, 2010) ‘Spinal cord fund celebrates 1st anniversary.’ Retreived on March 30, 2010 from the Brownsburg Star Web site:http://www.indystar.com/article/20100311/LOCAL0503/3110328/1020/LOCAL05/…