Cheshire Home’s Circle of Friends:
Improving Lives Through Spinal Cord Injury Research
Cheshire Home held its fourth Circle of Friends in February with the discussion focusing on spinal cord injury (SCI) research and the impact it is making on the lives of individuals with SCIs. Kessler Foundation Director, Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research, Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, FASIA, and Assistant Director, Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research, Jeanne Zanca, MPT, PhD, FACRM, were joined by Kessler Foundation Research Scientist, and Cheshire Home Board Member, Erica Weber, PhD, as the program moderator.
The discussion touched on the challenges individuals with SCIs face and the exciting research that is bringing the physical and emotional wellbeing of individuals with SCIs to higher levels. Increased mobility, accessibility in the community and work opportunities were mentioned as areas of interest for researchers.
“We have colleagues that are looking at the characteristics of communities, what the built environment is like, how accessible it is, and how much access do you have for place of employment,” Dr. Zanca said.
Stating that both he and Dr. Zanca are clinicians, Dr. Dyson-Hudson told the group, “The research is driven by the challenges we see in people with spinal cord injuries and their loved ones.” Dr. Dyson-Hudson offered first-hand knowledge, having lived with a SCI since 1992.
Cheshire Home’s Circle of Friends is an opportunity to connect with the Cheshire Home Family and the SCI community while learning more about these everyday folks whose life took a turn in a difficult direction. We look forward to seeing you at our next virtual Circle of Friends!
Watch the full discussion here.
The Rosen Family shares their SCI story at
Cheshire Home Circle of Friends Roundtable
At a recent Cheshire Home Circle of Friends Roundtable, Neil and his parents, Eileen and Elliott Rosen, shared the tragic events that led to Neil’s spinal cord injury (SCI), as well as the triumphs he has achieved since the accident.
Neil shared that prior to his injury he had a charmed life. He had just graduated college, had a great job, was loving life.Neil shared that his injury was caused after being involved in a one car accident that occurred while he was driving under the influence.
Eileen and Elliott discussed what the initial hours were like after they found out about Neil’s accident. They were in Vermont at their summer home when they heard a series of sirens in the near distance, police, ambulance and EMTs racing to an accident not too far from their home.
Having a premonition, Eileen got in her car and followed the direction of the sirens to find out that it was in fact Neil who was involved in the accident.
He had been taken to a local hospital, but due to the severity of his injury, he was airlifted to a trauma center in Albany, NY, closer to their main home in Saratoga, NY.
When they arrived at the hospital, they didn’t know the extent of Neil’s injuries. “It took a long time to deal with the severity of the accident,” Eileen said. After spending several months in the hospital, Neil was moved to Kessler in West Orange, NJ to begin the second phase of his recovery. After spending under a month at Kessler, the Rosen’s were asked what the next steps were for Neil.
When the Rosens asked what their options were they were told one option was to take Neil home. “We couldn’t do that for many, many reasons,” Eileen said, as is the case for most families of individuals with SCIs. Another option was to put Neil in a nursing home. “I couldn’t do that to a 23-year-old,” she continued, stating she was worried he wouldn’t get out of bed.
The Rosens were introduced to Cheshire Home as an alternative to a geriatric facility. Neil was a perfect candidate for Cheshire Home and when a bed became available, Neil moved in. The Rosens were excited for everything it had to offer.
“We were not able to find anything like Cheshire in New York state,” Elliot said referring to how unique Cheshire Home is. “There isn’t anything that can compare in New York or even in the tri-state area,” Eileen added. They found the support they received at Cheshire Home comforting.
“It’s hard to deal with waiting for a bed when you are in this situation,” Elliott Rosen said. Knowing that Neil would soon be admitted to Cheshire Home where he would begin his journey towards independence gave the Rosens hope.
Cheshire Home Director of Admissions, Dr. Althea David, stated that families are asked to make important decisions while juggling a very emotional time. She stated that Cheshire Home has decades of expertise in the care of individuals with spinal cord and neurological injuries.
“It is important to have family support,” Dr. David said. “Their attitude and their thoughts about the future – their ability to see the future, financial resources, their medical condition all play a crucial role in their recovery,” said Dr. David. Cheshire Home offers a positive support team that encompasses the resident’s entire journey.
Neil admitted his first days at Cheshire Home were scary. He was new to being in a wheelchair and he isolated by staying in his room. The Recreation Department was instrumental in getting Neil to socialize and take part in activities. It wasn’t too long before Neil found his bearings and his dad said he became “the mayor of Cheshire.”
Having the Cheshire Home Physical and Occupational Therapy Center and our team of therapists available to Neil numerous times a week was a bonus and he saw noticeable improvements. Neil was recently fitted with a standing wheelchair that allows him to stand up straight, permitting for face-to-face conversation. Neil said that the work he put in at Cheshire’s Therapy Center laid the foundation for him to have the core strength to use his new chair.
After spending four years at Cheshire Home, Neil has move into the community and now lives in Madison, NJ where he can be seen navigating the sidewalks downtown.
Eileen and Elliott Rosen will always consider Cheshire Home an instrumental part of Neil’s recovery. They expressed how grateful they are to Cheshire Home for all the support they received. “We were so blessed and fortunate that it worked out for Neil.” Elliott said. “You have to take it one day at a time and every day got a little better. We are unbelievably happy with the results.”
Making a difference in the lives of
Cheshire Home residents
Our Circle of Friends program celebrates the generosity and dedication of Cheshire Home supporters who contribute $1,000 or more each year to help create an even better tomorrow for our residents. Through their contributions, our Circle of Friends are ambassadors, advocating for our programs and services which will enable Cheshire to foster new relationships with individuals, organizations, and foundations. Circle of Friends members receive exclusive invitations
to round-table discussions featuring medical staff and residents, special events, meet & greets with board members, the first to know “what’s happening” at our Home and so much more! To learn more about the Circle of Friends program, or request information about becoming a member, please contact our Associate Director of Development, Kim Boyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.