LAKE WAWASEE — Chris Leeuw, a life-long Wawasee resident, is hosting an event to spread the word about NeuroHope and accept donations to provide therapy equipment. This will also be an opportunity for individuals to hear Leeuw’s inspirational story.
“Dogs from the Dock!” will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, at Pier 87 on Lake Wawasee. More than 1,000 complimentary hot dogs, donated by NewMarket, will be available to hungry lakers. For those not able to come by boat, travel by land to 8069 E. Rosella St., Syracuse, on Ogden Island and meet Leeuw in person at the Leeuw family lakehouse.
The dock will be rockin’ during the event.
The event is to help raise funds to make such therapy equipment as the powerstep training, hydroworx aqua therapy and hocoma lockomat available at the NeuroHope Clinic in Indianapolis. The continued fundraising effort will help add these resources to existing services to form the finest affordable non-profit continuing therapy with spinal cord injuries in the state.
NeuroHope works in collaboration with the University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy and the Suthphin Center for Clinical Care, where the clinic is currently located. It staffs physical therapists who specialize in neurologic recovery and devoted to bettering the lives of individuals living with spinal cord injury, brain injury or stroke.
Leeuw, founder and executive director, was in the prime of his life at the age of 28 in 2010. He was an avid water skier and drummer and a lover of sports. On Aug. 8, 2010, he was kayaking with two friends in southern Indiana. The group climbed a bridge and jumped off into the water below. After a few successful leaps, Leeuw went for an extra thrill, climbing to the top of the truss, 40-50 feet above the water. The plunge changed his life forever.
Another jumper landed on Leeuw’s head as they hit the water simultaneously. Two vertebrae in Leeuw’s neck were shattered instantly, leaving him floating paralyzed from the neck down.
Surgery fused vertebra and he spent a week in ICU. He began physical therapy with dreams of defying the odds and walking out of the building. But due to daily set-backs, frustrations, complications and injustices, that chance never came. The cap on insurance was reached and he was discharged eight-weeks after his injury. Therapy continued as an outpatient and progress continued. But again insurance ran out in 2011. Then the family heard about Neuroworx, a specialty clinic for spinal cord injury in South Jordan, Utah.
There he spent 1½ years intensely working to relearn and rebuild what he could. His efforts and the therapy team with a vision paid off. He left the clinic in May 2012 without his wheelchair and cane and was bicycling a recumbent bike, driving a car and living independently.
He returned home determined to create a similar clinic in Indianapolis to help others and created NeuroHope, where he serves as the clinic’s executive director.
NeuroHope operates outside the boundaries of traditional health care to provide patients with the care they need to maximize recovery and improve quality of life. This is a specialty clinic, similar to the one used by Leeuw in his recovery in Utah. The affordable services provide continual therapy for spinal injury patents. More than 30 families have been helped in their road to recovery.
Individuals can learn more about NeuroHope by visiting www.neurohopewellness.org.