Do you know someone who has a spinal cord injury?
Are they confined to a wheelchair?
I am proof that leading a full life is possible.
Twenty-six years in a wheelchair…so hard to believe. On January 2, 1988, I was lying in the surf in Martinique, the undertow had pulled my legs out from under me and flipped me upside down onto the hard sand. Face down under the water and unable to breathe, I knew something was dramatically wrong. I was in the prime of my life and now immobile…nothing moved. I was paralyzed. How could this have happened? My life flashed in front of me…playing ice hockey, walking around New York City, running races in Central Park, throwing baseballs…In a split second my life changed forever. At the age of 21 — a quadriplegic — confined to a wheelchair. How would I continue?
The Alan T Brown Foundation Gave Me a Purpose
When my family received the call and heard of my injury they soon learned that spinal cord injury turns a life upside down. But six months following my accident, my family established the Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis (ATBF). ATBF’s mission at the time was to fund spinal cord research and find a cure for paralysis. Although ATBF still continues to fund research and realizes the importance of scientists working toward a cure, the main focus has changed. The heart of the Alan T Brown Foundation is bringing a better quality of life to those living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis. The Foundation now proudly boasts a strong outreach and Peer Mentoring Programand funds studies focused on quality of life for the long-term spinally injured.
What I Have Accomplished
Professionally, I have built a career that has included everything from working for SlimFast foods to owning my own public relations firm, PrimeTime Public Relations & Marketing in Hollywood, Florida. “Never Say Never” is an integral part of my philosophy.
Personally, I have achieved many of the goals I set for myself, not the least of which was completing two New York City Marathons, skydiving, scuba diving, swimming and more. My sons, Max and Sam, have only known me in a wheelchair and I hope that they will be kind and compassionate to others who are confined to wheelchairs, as they have seen firsthand the barriers and obstacles that have to be crossed daily. I may be confined to a wheelchair, but I am a whole person.