James Hartwell, SCI Survivor

When asked whether he was using his chair anymore he remarked “I’m not even sure where it is right now.”

UPDATE: 2013 James' Story Part 2
When we last reported on James he had only been walking for a few months and, in amazing fashion, had just achieved what he previously thought was an unattainable goal – walking across the stage at his high school graduation. A lot has happened in James’ life since then and much has improved in his level of independence. James has a central spinal cord injury in his cervical spine; which means that his upper extremities are affected more than his lower extremities. When James began at Challenge Center he was only able to use his arms for driving his power chair and texting. He was unable to feed himself, prepare a snack, drink from a cup, dress or undress, or manipulate any object larger than his phone. He couldn't even scratch his own nose. Through the combination of upper extremity CFES and intensive upper extremity physical therapy James’ ability to care for himself has improved dramatically. He is now able to do all of the activities mentioned above and more. He even helps with the laundry. His latest goal?.....to be able to change his 4 month old daughter, Aubrey.
His beautiful family actually has part of its origins at Challenge Center. It wasn’t until therapy helped James regained the ability to feed himself that he would finally ask his now wife, Chandler, out on their first proper date.
James also participates in our Next Step program in terms of gait and has continued to make amazing improvements. At the time of our last report James was able to walk across the stage at graduation, and was walking up to 200 feet at therapy but he was still using his wheelchair as his primary source of mobility in his home and the community. James gait, speed, and dynamic balance have improved so much he is now ambulating nearly full time, only using his chair in crowds. In fact, when asked whether he was using his chair anymore he remarked “I’m not even sure where it is right now.” James even ambulates at his university where he is studying 3D graphic design. Challenge Center is proud to have been a part of James’ return to independence and was privileged to witness his development in to a wonderful husband and father.

To be continued.....