The Next Evolution
It's been some time since my last blog and I wanted to keep everyone up to date on the adventures. The summer had many ups and downs, but that is always part of being an athlete in addition to dealing with the balance of a systemic disease. The one thing through this whole journey is all these challenges help me learn more about who I am. This past year has brought me improved range of motion and more work that I have to do to sustain a healthy mind and body. I am continuing my training to accomplish these goals and hopefully help others along the way.
Along with this focus, being able to participate as an Operation Rebound team member has been an awesome experience and now it is time for the next evolution. For 9 years I have volunteered with Athletes with Disabilities Network organizing the Extremity Games, and began three years ago organizing adaptive events in NJ/PA area and building a network of invested organizations to work collaboratively. This year the Michigan Head Quarters merged with Rehabilitation Institutes of Michigan who have granted me the honor to branch out and start Athletes with Disabilities Northeast. The primary goal of Athletes with Disabilities Northeast is to build a network of peer mentors of varying disability levels that can be called upon to assist our disabled veterans and community members transition after facing a life changing event.
The part of this year that impacted me the most was the loss of my friend and brother Eric D'ercole. He was the type of guy that could make you laugh in a second even if you were mad at him. He had overcome many of his physical injuries walking with a cane and brace at times and sometimes with just a brace. On April 10th, 2016 my friend lost his battle with depression after reaching out for help and being told go home. The veterans health system failed him and I vowed that will never let that happen again. They are overwhelmed and looking for organizations to partner with.
Those of us that have experienced a life change ourselves or that of a loved one know that we are only as strong as the support we have. Whether this is facing a physical loss or mental health issue having the support structure makes all the difference. This is my call to action to all of you and the Northeast campaign has begun. We are raising money for our mentoring outreach, adaptive sports program. These programs provide peer mentors and bridge together invested organizations to provide the necessary resources to help our loved ones through a difficult time. We accomplish these tasks by going out into the community and educating healthcare providers, doctors offices about our programs. This provides these facilities assistance and enhances patient care. A trained mentor is able to assess what the need is of the mentee and provide them with referrals to resources, like grants, mental health programs,support groups and vocational training. The adaptive sports we organize help to create venues for families and the injured person to have a place to build relationships and speak to others that have faced similar things.
So thee are two ways you can assist us in raising money. The first is to donate or create a team and raise money through the team our Causevox fundraising page. The way that Causevox works is if simple. If you have an event like a 5k, Goruck, Spartan race you are running you just create a team or individual page and use this page on social media, ;emails to raise money. The page can be used for as many events that you would like or to receive general donations. If you would like to join the team Click Below on the logo:
The second way is through Amazon Smiles. If you shop on Amazon you just use our link below and shop. Amazon will then donate .5% back to us on all purchases made.
Click on the logo and shop away!!!
Thank you to Mike Boll and many others for keeping me active and motivated! Here are some photos and I hope you like them. Below are outreach events from the Veterans Administration, Team Foster bike ride honoring Captain Erica Foster (KIA), ride to Walter Reed Medical Center, Phillies Fundraiser Game, Union Columbiettes event, Somerset Patriots, White water kayaking class in Philadelphia and my favorite treatment, the hyperbaric chamber donated from Summit to Sea.