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.
In the Spring of 2002 I returned to the community college I had attended prior to my injury, and, graduated with an A.S. in Business Administration. In 2006 I graduated from the University of Rochester, Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Economics.
After graduation, I secured a job in Manhattan as an analyst at a global investment bank. This involved moving to New York-where I first crossed paths with Fran Brown. Luckily, Fran had read an article in the Real Estate Section of the New York Times that chronicled my quest in locating an accessible apartment in Manhattan. She tracked me down, we met for lunch , spoke about my personal life, work, and living in New York as a wheelchair user. She followed my transition and progress to the “big city” and assisted in addressing accessibility issues in my apartment building ,work and urged me to contact her anytime about anything—-and I did!!!
Through my affiliation with the Foundation I was successful in obtaining an iBot® wheelchair. Fran was a great resource as she contacted her son Alan, who is a representative for the iBot. Her contacts sped up the acquisition process that I had begun, and within a few weeks I was approved for the chair that I received shortly thereafter.
I found an apartment in the city, but like most, it was not fully accessible. Although the State agreed to fund the modifications necessary to make my bathroom accessible, I had spent over a year trying to locate a contractor willing and able to do the work, to no avail. Frustrated, I called Fran and she was instrumental in finding qualified contractors and the process is now moving forward.
The Foundation has guided me in finding qualified doctors, getting curb cuts installed in formally inaccessible locations, and connecting with other quad/paras in the area. The Alan T Brown Foundation has been my great support system.
My life has been made easier and better because of my link to the Foundation. For someone with a spinal cord injury who has constant needs for special resources, it is invaluable to have an organization like the Alan T Brown Foundation that you can turn to for information and positive response.