September is recognized as the National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month but what exactly can we do to mark this occasion? Well, for starters, we can all do a better job of educating the public on the hundreds of thousands of individuals impacted by spinal cord injury and extend our support to those that are struggling to overcome its hurdles. That’s why we started NorCal SCI because if you’re a wheelchair user, unfortunately, most of the public sees just that and not all the challenges we collectively have to deal with.
Advocacy and education is time consuming. A recent Facebook posting from a colleague captures what this struggle is all about and why we need to advocate for more to better deal with the incredible challenges a spinal cord injury brings on.
“Two years ago, my husband dove into a lake, got a spinal cord injury & became a quadriplegic. His union insurance ended (after 1 yr of extensions) b/c he couldn’t work to qualify (my employer-based coverage ended 6 weeks after leaving my job to become a family caregiver), and even with great insurance at the time (so grateful we had it) we ended up in multiple debt collections that ruined our credit and we have a six inch stack of billing statements. He’s on Medi-Cal, waiting to become Medicare eligible, but first he has to be permanently disabled for 29+ months to qualify. Trying to navigate the mind-boggling bureaucracy (this is just the beginning) while enduring extreme trauma, is not helpful. Healthcare should not be a for-profit industry. We’ve learned A LOT through this experience.”
Here’s what you can do during this month. Send the LATEST SET OF SCI FACTS & FIGURES to those individuals in a position to affect policy changes. There should be no reason for families to go into bankruptcy while dealing with the pains of caring for their loved ones. Additionally, if you’re in need of resources, our population has a couple of outstanding national advocacy organizations providing some great information:
UNITED SPINAL ASSOCIATION
And, of course, if you live in Northern California, NorCal SCI is here to serve your needs.