Hello Northern California SCI Community,

When we launched NorCal SCI in May of 2017, we had no idea how the spinal cord injury community would receive us or how we would go about meeting the various and significant challenges the vast majority of those with SCI face on a daily basis.

It's easy to say "let someone else do this work" but then you're compelled to ask yourself "who would?"  Collectively, we have met over 1,000 individuals with SCI through our peer supporting work as well as our community outreach throughout Northern California.  We see individuals who are new to SCI and we've met individuals who have lived with SCI for 50+ years.  Their needs vary and we are mindful of providing information and supporting groups that serve both of those audiences.

Yet, as our work has taken us across Northern California and as we've met hundreds of people during this short journey, we are more convinced than ever before that there is still a lot of work yet to be done.  We have just completed an exhaustive brainstorming and review of our short and long term goals and objectives and have finalized a new mission statement, vision and initiatives that we will be announcing on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.  We promised you back in May that we will be fully transparent with our plans and feel that anything short of that is a non-starter.

In the meantime, we’ve outlined a list of what we've accomplished since we launched in May of 2017.  We thank you for your support and apologize for any shortcomings and hope that we will continue to earn your trust and support throughout 2018 and beyond. 

Nick, Franklin and Carl
NorCal SCI team
January 2, 2018



Our Digital Initiatives

  • Web site at has welcomed over 3,200 unique visitors.

  • Launch of social media presence on Facebook as well as our Youtube channel

  • Weekly Newsletter:
        Has been published 33 consecutive weeks
        Number of registrants more than doubled to over 500
        Featured over 150 blog postings of news articles, events, and videos

  • Produced 14 videos registering over 3,000 views on Youtube
        Highest-viewed video registered over 1,300 views on Youtube

  • Hosting Website for Sonoma and Marin SCI Support Group


Care Packages for the newly injured

  • Instrumental in delivering over 120 Care Packages to newly-injured SCI patients at six Northern California Rehab Centers

Various items included in every Care Package

Various items included in every Care Package


SCI Community Outreach in Northern California

  • Visited and developed relationships with 8 SCI Rehab Centers

  • Visited and developed relationships with 3 Independent Living Centers

  • Visited and developed relationships with 8 SCI Support Groups

  • Held 10 monthly conference calls with various Bay Area SCI Support Organizations

  • Hosted Booth at Bay Area Abilities Expo reaching out to over 300 individuals and organizations

A gathering of Peer Supporters at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

A gathering of Peer Supporters at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center


Telephone Support Line

  • Launched a phone-based support service on October 24th

  • Calls are returned within one business day

  • Have assisted multiple individuals with unique challenges


Two members of the SCI Community joined NorCal SCI as Major Contributors

We're pleased to announce that Krystina Jackson and Ran Tao, two individuals with SCI, have become major contributors by lending their talents and knowledge for the benefit of the greater SCI Community. 

  • Krystina launched the "Ability Hacks" series that chronicled some of the tricks and tips she has developed in tackling everyday challenges people with SCI face.  She also developed the "first time falling out of your wheelchair" series which documented people's (mostly) humorous take on that first time they fell out of their wheelchair.
Krystina Jackson

Krystina Jackson

  • Ran, who is also an employee of Google and a Santa Clara Valley Medical Center SCI Peer Support Volunteer, came up with the idea of personally gifting a Google Home Mini device to a number of patients at SCVMC over the 2017 Holiday Season. The device will allow them to make phone calls, play music, search the web and many other useful features which are all voice controlled through the Home Mini which will enhance their independence.
    Ran just very recently volunteered his experience and talent to NorCal SCI. 
Ran Tao

Ran Tao


Provided durable medical equipment to those in need

  • Delivered two manual wheelchairs to SCI Active Network for use in their Share-A-Chair Program

  • Delivered one Hoyer Lift to a quadriplegic


Survey of Northern California SCI population

  • Developed and conducted a survey of individuals with SCI in October

  • Generated 123 respondents with valuable information about their needs and challenges


Silicon Valley Chapter of the United Spinal Association

  • Accepted as the Chapter for Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties by the National Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy Group, United Spinal Association

Launched new SCI Support Group in the East Bay

  • On Nov. 9th, we helped launch the first-ever meeting of the East Bay SCI Support Group that met in Pleasanton.  This is part of our goal to help launch new support groups, where there are none, as well as support the existing groups.


Participants in disabled community outreach programs

  • Hosted a booth at the 2017 Abilities Expo in San Mateo to meet and greet individuals with SCI.  Also, one of our contributors, Krystina Jackson, conducted video interviews with individuals in wheelchairs about their story of the first time they fell out of their wheelchair in order to inject some humor into an event like that.

  • Exhibited at the Foothill College Disability Awareness Day event in October

  • Hosted a booth at the Accessibility Day event held on the campus of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center


Launched the NorCal SCI Advisory Board

  • We recruited two physician with extensive experience and background in the Spinal Cord Injury field.  They will be part of a diverse board that would provide their medical expertise and knowledge to NorCal SCI:

Reza Ehsanian, MD, a physician-scientist
Lisa Knowlton, MD, trauma and critical care surgeon and public health researcher, Stanford Hospital


NorCal Spinal Cord Injury Foundation, A Non-Profit Corporation in California  

  • Became incorporated in the State of California in September, CA Corporate Number C4050261; Employer Identification Number 82-2423561

  • Currently in the process of achieving 501(c)(3) status

  • Established banking relationship with Heritage Bank in September

  • Can already accept tax deductible donations under United Spinal Association Group Exemption


Charitable Donations & Funding in 2017

  • Although no fund raising efforts have been made in 2017, NorCal SCI would like to thank Jordan and Jo-Ann Plofsky as well as Bill and Teresa Hata for their generous donations.

  • All three members of NorCal SCI have also made significant financial contributions to the organization's self-funding efforts.



How we've helped make a small difference in a few people's lives


“Their genuine help and deep contact base within the medical community kept my chances alive in getting the help I needed for both recovery and daily living skills for a more independent life.”

I am an L-1 partial paraplegic with sternum and rib fractures, keeping me out of the acute inpatient rehabilitation for the first 2 1/2 months after my injury.  By the time I was able to be readmitted, my insurance company was questioning whether I was actually in need of inpatient care! This news was devastating.

The first call I made was to NorCal SCI.  You helped me out with my re-entry into the inpatient facility at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). I feel you were one of the instrumental pieces of the puzzle which eventually ushered me through their doors for a second chance at acute rehabilitation. This is truly how support can work.  NorCal SCI’s relationships within the community of SCI patients, in the facilities where SCI patients get quality professional rehabilitation, made the difference for me.  Nick Struthers immediately responded to my needs and contacted the people within SCVMC, letting them know what my needs were and how I might renegotiate re-entry into their rehabilitation program.  

With much gratitude and thanks,

-- John Wrigley


“With the advent of NorCal SCI and its publication, it keeps my thought, heart and hope alive and informed.  I hear of events and ways of staying in touch with brothers/sisters of a similar path.  I so appreciate its existence and observe, with joy, as it grows and connects folks such as myself.”

I suffered a C-4 incomplete spinal cord injury in January 2004 from a ladder fall.  Prior to that, I owned a transportation/logistics company on the Mendocino Coast.  In an instant, due to a ladder that slipped, my whole life changed and I wound up being the one that needed help.

I was fortunate enough to do my rehab at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.  At the time of my discharge, it was suggested it would be best if I were to move and be closer to the SCI community in and around the Santa Clara County area but with the enormity of having an SCI, I wanted to return home and begin the acceptance of what life with a SCI would be like.  Bit by bit, I learned to adjust to my new life but felt very isolated living in Mendocino as I was the only person I knew of with SCI.

I would, on occasion, make the journey to Santa Clara and immediately felt akin to others who suffer from SCI and experienced such immediate understanding while sharing moments and stories of others with SCI.  But alas, I'd return to Mendocino, be back home on my own but missing the exposure of like folks to myself.                       

A sense of community is a primal drive I believe in all of us.  I lost that, when I could no longer live my previous lifestyle.  NorCal SCI provides me a new sense of community and a group who truly sense what it's like to do your best with a SCI.

-- Tim O'Flaherty


“NorCal SCI has been an invaluable resource and also provides incredible support.”

As someone with a C-6 incomplete spinal cord injury since Feb. 2015, I am still learning to improve my abilities and adapt to my new limitations.  I benefit greatly from NorCal SCI's tireless and dedicated efforts even though I now live on the California Central Coast.

-- Ernest Chung


"I strongly support your goals of improving the care of people with SCI in the Bay Area and Northern California."

NorCal SCI serves a very valuable purpose in connecting people with spinal cord injury and those who work with them in Northern California. Creating and maintaining these connections can greatly improve health and quality of life. People who have experienced a spinal cord injury can have a great influence not only on their own care but also on the health care system.

-- Dr. Graham Creasey, Professor of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine