I have spent 56 years, like most of you, occasionally watching a loved one or great friend pass due to cancer, ALS, MS or other horrific conditions, while we wait for a cure. I spent 39 years watching people confined to wheelchairs, some thriving, some surviving and some passing away.
The cure is not walking but it is living everyday. Rolling forward into recreation, into a relationship, adventure, job or event. Yes I hope and pray that we all walk one day but there are hundreds of thousands of people who can start living today.
Most of the donations given to the major spinal cord injury foundations like The Christopher Reeves Foundation and National Spinal Cord Injury Association goes into research and finding a cure, which is fantastic. Unfortunately while a cure is being researched the total suicide rate among individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries is five times higher than expected in the general population. Researchers have estimated that, as of 2015, 12,500 new SCI occur each year and between 240,000 and 337,000 people are currently living with SCI in the United States.
Therapeutic recreation, like the activities that SOAR will offer, has a unique role in promoting play, recreation, and leisure as a means to physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being among individuals with disabilities. Therapeutic recreation also reduces pain, depression, stress, and anxiety; reduces the effects of disability, including low self-esteem, loneliness, attention problems, and greater social isolation due to reduced time with friends and family.
Outdoor activity has been proven to improve cognitive functioning, reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and increase self-discipline and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of accessible outdoor recreation locations. Insurance does not pay for accessible outdoor recreation equipment and most people with disabilities lack access to the adaptive equipment required to participate in outdoor recreational activities.
SOAR wants to assist those living with SCI to live in the now and experience the joys of life and benefits through accessible outdoor recreation. We can’t do this without the support of others. Soarnonprofit.com