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Gage Savar - From Cheshire III to Independence

Posted Thu, Feb 12th, 2015

On the evening of May 6, 2012, Gage was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident. He was transported to Robert Woods Johnson Hospital, and after being diagnosed with a paralyzing C6-7 vertebrae injury, he spent two days in traction, and underwent surgery to stabilize his vertebrae. This was the beginning of Gage living with the reality of paraplegia, a far cry from his prior active life with his girlfriend, and with his physically demanding job as a diesel engine mechanic at Provost Car Inc. in South Plainfield.

After eleven days at Robert Woods Johnson, he was discharged to the Kessler Institute to begin two months of in-house rehabilitation. Once that was completed, he found himself in a loaner wheelchair, returning to the condo he previously had shared with his girlfriend.

"Not a good living situation," Gage shared, "very hard on both of us." The condo was on the 2nd floor, with no elevator in the building, and he, and his wheelchair, had to be carried up and down the stairs.

Gage continued out-patient therapy at Kessler but it was hard. He wasn't in a good place and a heavy sense of discouragement was getting the best of him. On a particularly down day his father asked one of Kessler's out-patient nurses to speak with him, and she shared a packet of information about Cheshire Home. This packet offered Gage the first glimmer of hope. His father reached out to our Director of Admissions, Mandy Hecht, and learned that there was an opening at Cheshire III, our small community home in Florham Park.

Gage was initially hesitant. He'd had enough to deal with. Did he want to move into a new situation, in a new town, with new people? Fortunately he decided that he did. After an admittedly tough two weeks in yet another unfamiliar environment, he began to settle in, and to understand the support Cheshire III offered.

"This was the best possible scenario for me," he said. "During my 2 1/2 years at Cheshire I learned how to take care of myself, how to become independent. House Manager Dizanne Baigent was very helpful, and I was able to start doing many of the things I had done before I got hurt."

One year after his accident, Gage purchased a Chevy Cobalt, outfitted it himself, and has been driving ever since. He also began to work out three times a week at "Push to Walk" in Riverdale, participating in their specialized exercise program for people with spinal cord injuries. He recently moved into a condo in Bridgewater, and Gage is also working again with the guys at Prevost in South Plainfield, this time as a warranty processor. 

"I'm not in the garage anymore, he said, "But I'm back."

We couldn't have said it any better. 


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