Global Wealth Partners provides a VIP experience at Laguna Seca for group of SCI survivors

For the second year in a row, thanks to a generous contribution from Brian King of Global Wealth Partners (GWP), NorCal SCI has organized a group of individuals with a spinal cord injury to participate in this weekend's Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca.  The event features vintage race cars in separate classes from pre-1940 sports racing cars through 1970’s and early 1980’s Trans-Am and GT racing cars.

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Brian and GWP are going all out for their guests by hosting a private tent overlooking the track which adds to the excitement of the event as every car zooms by you.  Of course, no one can complain with the plentiful supply of beer & wine and catered food all throughout the day.  

Each year, the event honors a particular automobile or automobile manufacturer.  This year’s event will showcase and celebrate the rich racing history of two automotive industry leaders, Nissan and Datsun (millennials and Gen-Zs should Google Datsun).

One of the wonderful opportunities available to us is the ability to roll down to the paddock for an up close and personal experience of seeing the cars where you can mingle with the owners and mechanics.  The venue is amazingly accessible and there are also accessible golf carts that can take you around if you're in a manual wheelchair.

Look for a full review of the weekend action in next week's Newsletter. 

Additionally, NorCal SCI has facilitated a partnership between GWP and the Valley Medical Center Foundation which has resulted in an exciting art project, details of which will be made available in the coming weeks.

Day On The Lake organizers recognized by County with commendation

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors officially recognized the Day on the Lake event with a commendation at its Mon., Aug. 13th meeting which was attended by several dozen individuals involved with the organizing of the successful June 2nd water-based activities event held at Vasona Park and Lake in Los Gatos.

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The commendation marked a significant achievement for the forces that came together to put on a magnificent event that saw over 100 persons with disabilities be able to experience kayaking, sailing and canoeing on the lake, many of them for the first time ever.  You can see the video presentation starting at the 1:19:30 mark.

Many organizations and dozens of volunteers worked collaboratively to help support this event, including Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Dept., Valley Medical Center Foundation, NorCal SCI, Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC), Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS), LGS Recreation/Vasona Boating, Pu Pu 'O Hawaii Outrigger Canoe Club and San Jose Firefighters.

And just yesterday, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center announced the return of the event on June 22, 2019 at Vasona Park and Lake.  So, mark it on your calendar.

IN SEARCH OF SCI CURE: SF Chronicle in-depth article provides more questions than answers

It's been lurking out there for many years, raising hopes for that miracle cure for paralysis only to crush them time after time.  The elusive cure for paralysis has posed a significant challenge for scientists and it has multiplied even further when it's involved the use of stem cells, in particular for paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury or disorder.

We've been following The Miracle Cell project produced by the San Francisco Chronicle.  The first two of a four-part investigative series included:
In search of a miracle
Merchants of hope

Part three is Immense promise, hard-won progress which takes a deep dive into the difficulties science experiences in order to demonstrate the viability of stem cell therapy.  Good reading if you want to understand the A to Z of stem cell research.

CHANGE OF DATE: SCI Connections BBQ moves to Aug. 29

The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Rehab Department's End of Summer BBQ will now take place on Wed., Aug. 29th from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  in the Courtyard of 1Rehab located on 1st floor of the old Rehabilitation Department which is located at 751 S. Bascom Ave. in San Jose.  Come and meet SCI peer supporters as well as staff from the Rehab Center and you may even run into an old friend.

The hospital encourages you to bring your family/friends but notify them of your attendance by Mon., Aug. 27th via e-mail at vmcpeersupport@scvmcrehab.org or by phone at (408) 885-2397 to ensure adequate supply of food.

DSLC to host Sept. 13th "Know Your Disability Rights" workshop in Santa Rosa

A free "Know Your Disability Rights" workshop will be held on Thurs., Sept. 13th from 6-8 p.m. at the offices of Disability and Services Legal Center (DSLC) in Santa Rosa, focusing on accessible environment, housing, reasonable accommodations and other disability rights.

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The workshop will be a combination of oral presentation and videos -- attorneys will discuss the historical development of the Americans with Disabilities Act as a segue into the current state of the law regarding disability civil rights and access. They will discuss common violations of the law as well as enforcement of those rights.  Attorneys will also discuss the political landscape regarding the ADA and the California Civil Code protections and there will be a question and answer session about the ADA, Fair Housing and Employment.

DSLC is hosting this event in collaboration with the law firm of Potter Handy, LLP and even if you're unable to attend, you may send your questions by Aug. 30th via e-mail to lake@mydslc.org or by phone at (707) 636-3063.  You may also RSVP for this event at the same e-mail/phone number.  DSLC is located at 521 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. 

SF Spinal Network brings sit down comedy into its Aug. 23 meeting

Call it outside the box thinking but the folks at the San Francisco Spinal Network will be hosting a comedy night on Thurs., Aug. 23rd from 6-8:30 p.m. as part of their monthly meetups taking place at the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco (ILRCSF).

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Let's Get Funny is a novel approach for a team building activity in the San Francisco area where local comedians use stand-up comedy to create an unforgettable experience.  Free food and beverages will be provided and there may also be a joke writing workshop thrown in there, too.

Location of ILRCSF is 825 Howard St., San Francisco.  RSVP to Matt Tilford at matt@applewesthms.com or at (209) 765-0292.

SCI Active Network hosting "A's Fireworks Night Game" fundraiser on Sept. 22

Our friend, Troy Plunkett, and his organization SCI Active Network, will be hosting their third annual fundraiser featuring the Oakland A';s game vs. the Minnesota Twins on Sat., Sept. 22nd at 6:05 p.m. which will be part of the A's Fireworks Night.

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For $25, you will get general admission to the Treehouse Plaza with ADA seating.  Following the game, there will be on-field wheelchair access provided to view the post-game fireworks show.  Tickets are always limited, so contact Troy at (707) 342-9458 or at events@sciactivenetwork.org.

NOTE FROM NORCAL SCI
We will promote your personal fundraising events on our web site and newsletter.  Just send us the details well in advance to info@norcalsci.org.

NorCal SCI co-founders re-connect with CIL in Berkeley

NorCal SCI co-founders, Nick and Franklin, made a short trip to Berkeley to meet with various friends of NorCal SCI and learn what they’ve been doing.  One of the intriguing stops for us was our visit to The Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Berkeley where we met for about 90-minute with Stuart James, the Executive Director and Bryanna Stubbert, Sports & Recreation Coordinator at CIL.

It had been seven months since we last saw Stuart at the Ed Roberts Day gala event and given the important role CIL plays in the disability movement, we wanted to re-connect and find out how things are going and get an update on the programs and services they’re now offering.

   From left to right:  Franklin, Nick, Stuart, Bryanna

From left to right:  Franklin, Nick, Stuart, Bryanna

CIL just re-designed their web site which you should check out but that’s not the only new thing taking place.  Stuart shared with us the details of a program that seeks to create employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities focused on those under the age of 24.  The program was launched about a month ago, according to Stuart, and they’ve been working with mostly larger companies who value inclusiveness and diversity in their workforce.

More and more companies, especially in Silicon Valley, have been placing a greater level of importance on hiring individuals with disabilities and given the tight labor market, it has created even more opportunities.  He cited companies such as Pinterest, Adobe, Logitech, Mixpanel among those involved who rely on CIL’s staff to refer qualified individuals to them.  A critical part of matching candidates with employers involves ensuring a work environment that would be in line with the applicant’s personality and level of comfort which ensures longevity in the position.

Also important in placing applicants for any position involves analyzing the cash and non-cash benefits they may be receiving from various social safety nets so that they don’t end up being financially penalized for working while their needs are not being met.  Stuart also revealed that this program is available to anyone in any county and urges interested individuals to contact CIL.

Another program offered by CIL involves making homes accessible for the low-income Berkeley residents with a disability, supported through a $140,000/year community block grant.  Efforts are underway to work with other cities to provide similar services to their residents.

We found out that CIL also sells various medical equipment such as manual and power wheelchairs (including the Whill Ci) at drastic discounts.  The Power On program, whereby CIL staff tests out various products and showcase them via video, will be ramped up in the coming months.

In all, Stuart’s vision calls for the disability community involved and engaged in any way, shape or form that works for them, whether they work, play, go to outings or anything to get them out of the house.  At CIL, their goal is to do fewer programs but do them well.

We’re grateful for the friendship and partnership we have developed with Stuart and the staff at CIL and will continue to report on their new programs and services that can benefit the SCI community.

Google seeks input from disability community on Maps app, offers $75 gift perks

For a while, NorCal SCI has partnered with Google to provide feedback from the SCI community so they can make their products more accessible and they're currently seeking volunteers to help provide crucial feedback on the use of the Google Maps app.  If you're selected to take part in this study, Google will provide a $75 gift perks code upon completion of the study.

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If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone and have the Google Maps app installed, you can be a potential candidate.  To begin with, you need to complete THIS QUESTIONNAIRE (takes about five minutes to complete and you will not be compensated) to see if you're a good match for this online study.  If you are selected by Google to participate in the study, you will be contacted and provided additional instructions.

This study runs through Fri., Aug. 24th and you must have a smartphone to participate via Google Forms.  You can complete the initial questionnaire at any time of your choosing. If you're selected for the online survey, it would take 45-60 minutes to complete.  

Preventing skin issues and pressure sores in persons with SCI

It is arguably among the top 3 issues of concerns/fear for persons with a spinal cord injury.  Hopefully, its importance has been drilled into your brain during your initial hospital and rehab stay but it happens to the best of us.  We hear the dreaded word "flap surgery" and look for the closest closet to hide in.

The human body was not designed to really accommodate paralysis when you think about it.  Pushing your manual wheelchair continuously, transferring in and out of your wheelchair, sticking catheters in and out of your bladder, and sitting on your rear end for hours are not the types of activities that your body can tolerate long term.

When it comes to skin issues, your diet, age, and relieving of pressure play major roles in the eventual outcome.  Yet, despite your best efforts, you always feel like teetering on the brink of disaster when it comes to the health of your skin.

The Reeve Foundation has developed THIS PAGE that goes into all the details of pressure sores and how to prevent them.