NorCal SCI Co-Founder, Nick Struthers, was invited to present at the bi-monthly Fresno Support Group at the Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center. Nick was enthusiastic to find out more about the SCI community in Fresno County which has a population of nearly 1 million. Nick met Allen Roope, the coordinator of the program, for the first time.
Based on its population, the county is likely to have about 1,000 individuals living with a Spinal Cord Injury. The Leon S. Peters Rehabilitation Center itself is on the 4th floor of the Community Medical in Fresno. I arrived in the West Day Room where I met Donna, an Occupation Therapist, and Janet, a Physical Therapist, who were busy getting the room set up for the Thanksgiving potluck. I introduced myself to Allen who had made the one hour drive from North Fork in the Sierra Foothills. Allen has been active in the SCI Community for over two decades and is now only winding down his role as the Fresno Support Group Coordinator.
I returned to my car to get my presentation materials and Janet helped me with delivering five Care Packages which are designed to give the newly injured individuals some comprehensive information about the SCI Community as well as some items they may find useful as they continue their recovery. When I began to set up our display screen, it became clear that no flyers of the event had been published due to a miscommunication with the staff who had only recently assumed Allen's previous responsibilities. As a result, we would not be expecting the usual turnout of individuals.
Dan, who has been injured since 1988, joined us along with Victoria who was two years into her recovery, We were also joined by a patient and family members when we started the meeting. I used the opportunity to inform everyone of some of the resources I had become aware of in Northern California as well as the SCI Community Outreach that is taking place across the state.
It was clear that both Allen and Dan are not only active in the community but have a wealth of knowledge on what services and opportunities exist in Fresno County and I will be reaching out to them to update our NorCal SCI's online resources with this information.
I would like to thank Allen, Donna and Janet for their hospitality and we at NorCal SCI are excited about doing what we can to help the patients and the SCI Community in Fresno County.
When I was loading up my car to leave, I was able to put my recently discovered Ability Hacks knowledge to good use as I gave Victoria a "farewell embrace."