$11,145 of $30,000
97 donations

This fundraiser ended on 04/18/11

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In June of 2010 a mountain biking accident left David Wieselmann with a broken neck and a spinal cord injury at the C7 vertebra which left him paralyzed from the chest down. Before this life altering accident David was often seen biking 40 to 70 miles in a day around the Northeast Kingdom until snow fell—then it was all about skiing. Could he ski every day of the season? Heck yeah! And even extend the season by traveling out of state to chase the snow. For David life has always been about movement and pushing his body to the limit. Never one to sit around, he now ironically finds himself stuck in a wheelchair.
Known as “Turbo” on the slopes, he longs for the type of vigorous activity which earned him the name. The FES bike will provide that outlet along with a host of other major health benefits.
Paralysis is not as simple as being unable to move body parts. There are many major health risks involved such as osteoporosis, serious blood pressure problems, heart disease, muscle spasticity, calcification of muscles (heterotopic ossification), and on and on.
As is the case for anybody with health issues, exercise is the remedy. Of course paralysis makes a full body work out a huge challenge. Because David’s spinal cord was crushed and damaged, information from his brain cannot travel through to let his lower body know it is expected to move. An FES bicycle supplies exterior electrical stimulation to David’s leg muscles to prompt them to move. Because his muscles still have memory of being used to excess before the accident, David’s body is especially responsive to this equipment. He ends up getting a great cardio-muscular workout along with all the added health benefits of a physically active lifestyle.
The very exciting and added possibility of an FES bike is the bottom-up effect. The top-down system, or brain impulse to leg muscles, is blocked by the damaged spinal cord, but because the legs are moving regularly, dormant spinal cord cells can be fooled into believing they are functioning properly and therefore begin repairing themselves. Isn’t the body a fascinating and resilient system?
Time is of the essence. The major healing and repairing of a spinal cord injury occurs between 6 and 18 months, sometimes extending into 24 months. David is 9 months into the healing process and is desperate to pick up the pace through the daily vigorous workout he can only receive through having an FES bicycle available and through participating in an agressive therapy program at Journey Forward near Boston.
Please help make this possible by donating what you can. We thank you dearly!
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