We were pleased to be able to assist them and developed a relationship over the years. Lorraine's injury was the same level as Christopher Reeve's and she received a piece of Christopher's equipment after he passed away.
St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) July 30, 2009
The Eric Westacott Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the study and cure of spinal cord injuries (SCI), announced today that it has teamed with Patrick Rummerfield, the first fully functional quadriplegic in history, and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to donate the proceeds of the upcoming Golf Classic Tournament to the rehabilitation of 11-year old quadriplegic Alex Malarkey and provide young Alex with a state of the art RT300 Functional Electrical Stimulus (FES) bike and tilt-table donated by Lorraine V and Chris Reyling.
The Huntsville, Ohio resident was involved in a car accident in 2004, while riding home from church with his father. Alex sustained serious neck injuries as the result of the car accident, which left him paralyzed from the neck down and has been confined to a wheelchair and ventilator since the accident.
Patrick Rummerfield, who has known Alex since shortly after his accident, decided to help him in his quest for rehabilitation by putting the family in contact with the Eric Westacott and Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundations.
Alex will be traveling from Ohio with his parents, Kevin and Beth Malarkey, to enjoy the 16th Annual Eric Westacott Foundation "Golf Classic".
"This is a very special trip for the Malarkey family," commented Eric Westacott, President of the Eric Westacott Foundation. "Not only is Alex coming to St. Louis to receive some much needed help, but this will also be the Malarkey's first family trip ever!"
As a spinal cord injured person himself, Mr. Westacott knows the challenges faced by SCIs, and the need for a consistent, focused rehabilitation regimen.
The Foundation, which is run on a completely volunteer basis, has raised over $250,000.00 for spinal cord research since its creation, in 2002.
In addition to the proceeds of the Golf Classic tournament, the Eric Westacott Foundation has also arranged for the receipt and transfer to the Malarkey's Ohio home of an RT300, a Functional Electrical Stimulus (FES) bike, and tilt-table, donated by the family of Lorraine Valentini, a fierce bike rider, strong mentor and winner of a gold medal at the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championship, in the 1980s, who passed on in July, 2009. The RT300 FES bike is designed to send electrical impulses to electrodes placed on the patient's muscles, causing the muscles to contract and - essentially - perform a workout. The use of RT300 FES bikes provides people with spinal cord injuries many benefits, including prevention of muscle loss, muscle strengthening, improved circulation, and cardiovascular exercise.
The transfer was made possible thanks to the help of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. "Chris and Lorraine contacted the Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center when Lorraine was spinal cord injured for information and resources," commented Joseph Canose, Vice President of Quality of Life at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. "We were pleased to be able to assist them and developed a relationship over the years. Lorraine's injury was the same level as Christopher Reeve's and she received a piece of Christopher's equipment after he passed away." Canose continued, "After Lorraine's passing, her family chose to donate Lorraine's equipment to another family with a child who had a similar injury. The Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center matched them with Alex Malarkey, also dependent on a ventilator and someone who has also received assistance from our highly trained information specialists."
Alex made history in January 2009, at the age of 10, by becoming the youngest patient to undergo a surgical procedure that replaced the breathing unit he once was forced to use (weighing over 200 lbs) with a much smaller and lighter one. This surgery has allowed adult quadriplegics to sail solo and skydive.
"We are very grateful to the Eric Westacott Foundation for this opportunity," said Beth Malarkey, upon hearing of the invitation that the Foundation had extended to Alex and his family. "Alex has never had a chance to participate in concentrated rehabilitation. This bike is something he really needed for a long time, and we're just so touched that Alex will get a fair shot and rehabilitation."
The 16th Annual Eric Westacott Foundation Golf Classic will take place at Gateway National, in Madison, IL on August 1. Shotgun start will be 12:30pm.
About Patrick Rummerfield
Patrick Rummerfield is the first fully functional SCI quadriplegic in the history of medicine. Following a 1974 car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down, Patrick entered an uncharted and grueling regimen of physical therapy and physical and psychological support. With sheer determination and an iron will, Patrick regained function to his limbs, and went on to race marathons all over the world, including the Ironman Triathlon, the Gobi Desert march, and the Antarctica marathon, and to establish the FIA World Land Speed record on an electric car, along with 34 World Firsts. Today Patrick works with the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute and has co-founded Adventures on Wheels, a nonprofit organization developed to bring the world of adventure to those affected by spinal cord injury. Patrick's primary focus is to bring awareness to the importance of activity based restorative therapies and paralysis research. Patrick is an accomplished motivational speaker and is in the process of writing a book about his incredible life story. For additional information, visit Patrick's website.
About Eric Westacott
In October of 1993, while playing in an intramural college softball game, Eric attempted to stretch a triple into a homerun. His headfirst slide resulted in a broken neck, rendering Eric a complete quadriplegic. He spent the next 23 days at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, undergoing spinal fusion surgery and acute recovery and completed a rigorous 4 1/2 months of extensive physical therapy and disability training at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. In addition to serving as President of Eric Westacott Foundation, Eric sits on the board of Next Steps Foundation and assists with developing curriculum for Washington University's Program in Occupational Therapy. He is President of the Board for Adventures on Wheels, a charity dedicated to providing outdoor experiences to mobility impaired children. Additionally, he spends considerable time giving motivational speeches and advocating for stem cell research. Eric is a member of the Bar for the states of Missouri and Illinois, a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and a member of the American Bar Association. For more information, visit the foundation's website.
About the Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award No. 1U59DD000338). It also receives invaluable guidance from a 63-member Paralysis Task Force with representatives from other public and private organizations involved with mobility impairments and other disabilities. For more information, a please visit the foundation's website.