Sabrina Bennett

During my session of weight training I managed to work out muscles I have not worked out in a long time. It gave me the opportunity to work with amazing instructors who gave me the drive and motivation to achieve my weight goal.



Shawn Young
I am grateful for the outpatient Weight Lifting Program. It gave me a twice weekly outside activity that has assisted immeasurably in the progress I have made towards walking again. While the concentration was on my upper body- namely, my biceps, triceps, shoulders, forearms, and chest it has been my sense of self-acceptance that has made the most gains. It was participation in this program which has bolstered my motivation and desire to walk again; which is something a year ago I did not believe possible. The program has contributed towards a measurable and significant improvement in my overall well-being.

Shawn has an incomplete injury and has made great strides in his rehabilitation efforts.


Christine Mace
The last time I contributed to the ATBF newsletter, I had just completed my Bachelor of Fine Art’s degree in Fashion Marketing and had embarked on an adventure to New York City for the first time since sustaining a spinal cord injury in 2002. My article detailed the trials and tribulations of traveling as a quadriplegic from Los Angeles to New York City while also sharing my experience of navigating the city in a wheelchair. Click here to read more.


Michele Daly

On September 3, 1993 I broke my neck in a jeep accident at the age of 16 and in the blink of an eye my entire life changed. I left my house that Friday night in New Jersey in a car with friends and awoke a month later, trapped in a body that I didn’t know, in the intensive care unit of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.  Click here to read more.

Tony Montalto
My son, Michael Montalto, suffered a spinal cord injury when he fell down a staircase in the restaurant where he worked less than a year ago. He was admitted to Beth Israel Hospital and later went to Burke Rehabilitation Center in New York. I heard about ATBF through a mutual friend, reached out to Fran Brown and told her what happened to my son. Fran helped me move forward. Michael was very fortunate in that he had a very strong support system and did not have a complete injury. Today, he is learning to use crutches. ATBF gave advice to me on many topics that should be addressed in order to help Michael progress after paralysis. The Foundation maintains an ongoing relationship with my entire family. Tony Montalto is a Partner at O’Connor Davies LLP and resides in Westchester, NY.



Daniel Tratt
“I became spinal cord injured in 1999 after falling over a stairway banister, 23 feet straight down, at the end of my junior year at SUNY Binghamton. For the months following, I struggled to overcome and recover from both a T7 spinal cord injury and a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Click here to read more.


Judith Goodman

Many years ago Fran found a wheelchair for me. She was very nice to me and has compassion and a tremendous amount of understanding. It makes you feel good when people care and want to help you. If I could help in return, I would.

Priscilla Avilez

My husband, Derek, met Alan in April of 2010 when he was working as a firefighter/paramedic with Hollywood Fire and Rescue. Alan called 911 when he was passing out from severe dehydration and Derek was the responder on call. Ironically, on September 30th 2010, Derek suffered a spinal cord injury while skim boarding at the beach. When Alan heard about Derek’s accident he immediately reached out to our family. Alan was at the hospital a lot with us just giving us advice and was instrumental in getting us a donated handicap accessible van. He has been a true friend since and this has made a huge difference in Derek’s personal life and for my family.”


 Curt Kreisler

Earlier this year my nephew Brian was injured on the job as a result of a roofing accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. I used to see Alan Brown at my son’s lacrosse games in Florida. His son and my son were on the same team so I decided to reach out to him for support. Alan and the Foundation were extremely helpful in coordinating a fundraising campaign for Brian. The day Brian received the van was a great day and he was VERY excited. I want to thank ATBF for for what they did to make this happen for him. I can already see how this will be life changing for him.

 Paul Averill

Although it started out as a relatively normal day, June 19th, 2001 turned out to be a day that changed my life forever. I had just arrived back from a family vacation in the Cayman Islands, and was out reconnecting with friends when, on my way home, I was involved in a terrible car accident, leaving me a C4/5 quadriplegic. After a month in the ICU of the University of Rochester Medical Center (Rochester is my hometown) and four months of intensive rehabilitation at Shepherd Spinal Cord Injury Center in Atlanta, GA. I was as ready as one could be to re-start my life as a quadriplegic. Click here to read more.

Victor Calise

I was injured thirteen years ago while riding a downhill mountain bike. My friends met every weekend and we rode down tough trails. Little did I know that one ride would change my life forever. I descended down a trail, and that was the last thing I remember. When I woke up a few minutes later I could not move my legs and knew instantly that I was paralyzed. I questioned what I had to live for — so many questions and no answers. Click here to read more.

 Eric Muhlrad

In 1993 at the age of 16, I suffered a spinal cord injury. As a C-5 – C-6 quadriplegic, I was thrust into a traumatic and challenging period of my life. It was then I met Alan and Fran Brown, who were among the first SCI families that contacted me. This was the beginning of my involvement with the Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis (ATBF). This relationship and Alan’s positive attitude had a profound impact on me. Learning about Alan’s post-injury accomplishments gave me hope and was instrumental in helping me move forward. Click here to read more.

 Bridget Carvajal
In 1999, I was living with a spinal cord injury and working at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City when I first heard of The Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis. My fiancé and I met that year at an ABTF fundraiser held at Session 73 in Manhattan. I was working as a research assistant for the Rehabilitation Unit at Mount Sinai and a nurse who had previously worked on the unit invited me to the fundraiser. My fiancé attended at the suggestion of his former physical therapist at Mount Sinai. Click here to read more.



 Jamie Clare
My name is Jamie Clare. In 1991, I was spinally injured in an automobile accident and am now a T-12 paraplegic. My family and I were traumatized by the news of my paralysis and overwhelmed by the enormity of the changes we were facing. In searching for a way to move forward, we made contact with The Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis (ATBF). Click here to read more.



 Deborah J. Hjeltnes
March 18, 2003. It was the darkest day of my life. I was at work when the call came with the news that Erik, my 23-year-old son, had been seriously injured in an accident and was at a hospital in Cancun. I immediately dialed a number in Mexico to speak with a doctor. Yes, Erik had been badly hurt when he dove off a dock and hit a sand bar. The word paralysis was used, then quadriplegic. Click here to read more.



Christine Mace

My sister, Christine Mace, suffered a C5/C6 spinal cord injury in March 2002, as the result of a pool accident. At that time, she was a freshman attending school in Tempe, Arizona. When our family came together in the Scottsdale hospital to begin our vigil in the ICU later that day, we knew next-to-nothing about spinal cord injuries. Over the following weeks, we learned the medical facts of Christine’s new reality from her doctors and therapists. We were, however, sorely lacking in our understanding and expectation of what her future held—the real impact of Christine’s injury on her life and ours. Click here to read more.



 Bill Lavner

On December 18, 2001, my husband, Bill Lavner, was paralyzed during an operation for a cancerous tumor on his spine. The doctor approached me with tears in his eyes to tell me something had gone wrong and that my husband was unable to move. I felt faint, then angry, and later a profound sadness. I could not tell my children for two days because they had tests at school and I did not want to upset them, so I conjured up my acting abilities. When the moment came and my sixteen-year-old daughter inquired innocently how her father was doing, I took a deep breath and told her the truth. She burst out crying and I felt helpless to protect her from the deep pain she would experience. Click here to read more.



 Lauren Verlizzo

It was the summer of 2002 and having recently earned a Master’s degree, I was pursuing a career in teaching, spending weekends at the beach, and generally enjoying the type of freedom that seems to only come with being in your early twenties. But as anyone who has suffered a spinal cord injury understands, it takes less than five seconds to completely derail your freedom. I was a passenger in a car involved in a collision which rendered me an incomplete quadriplegic with a fracture at the 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae. I was brought to a local emergency room, stabilized, transferred to another hospital where a neurosurgeon performed a vertebral fusion, placed a bone graft, and predicted that I had less than a ten percent chance of ever walking again, all in the space of 24 hours. Ten days later, I was transported by ambulance to Helen Hayes Hospital, a rehabilitation hospital in West Haverstraw, NY, where I spent six months as an inpatient. Click here to read more.



Christine D’Andrea

I called the ATBF office because I was trying to digest the fact that I have degenerative disc disease at all cervical levels and a disc extrusion at cervical C5-C6. I was in dire need of a neurosurgeon to remove the disc to prevent any further damage to the nerve. I had volunteered many times at Alan T Brown Foundation events and knew of their professional connections and compassion. I spoke to Fran and her response was immediate. She made an appointment for me for the next day. I am very grateful for the advice I received.