Feel Good Fall
by Shelly St John

As the holiday’s approach and year end giving is in full swing, I want to bring you some stories to warm your heart and inspire your giving.

Today, we’re talking about a special young man, Cody (CJ) Powell. Currently the Interim Executive Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Project (SCI) in Denver, CJ has seen many challenges in his young life, but boy has he bounced back!

Having had the sport of Motocross in his blood since a young child, CJ had the world in his sites! A great family, good grades and college. But Motocross was his passion, he was a leader in the sport, and consistently won races and time trials, until “one day” — that one day that changed his life forever. CJ was in the middle a great run on the course, then his bike went high, but came down hard. Really hard.

In that Motocross accident in 2013 he lost the use of his body from his sternum down. After all the emergency sirens, ambulances and hospitals were past, CJ had to figure out this new life and how to make it work, really work, for him.

He quickly realized, that life is about more than money, fame or power, it’s about standing up for himself and others and that even in the darkest moment of one’s life, that life should be about love, kindness, compassion and passion. Not just for yourself, but for everyone around you. CJ makes the colloquial phrase “wake up and smell the coffee” REAL. He is not a victim of his accident, nor has he let his physical disability hold him back. In fact, he feels that his life better now and that what he’s endured and overcome has made him a better person.

CJ began as a client of SCI in 2014, a little less than a year after his accident because they fill the void after a spinal cord injury with physical and cardiovascular adaptive training along with integrative therapies to maintain health and wellness while providing optimal functional return.

As I spoke with CJ, he chuckled and said asked me how long I sit at my desk every day, and if it feels good to stand up every occasionally, of course I said absolutely!  It’s the same thing for him, getting out of his chair, feeling the blood flow throughout his body even though his legs don’t work, has been so meaningful to his physical and mental health. “I push myself in the gym like I used to before my accident, and the supportive staff at SCI pushes me even harder to be my best self”, says CJ. “SCI has helped shape my future and I feel so strongly about the physical and emotional benefits of the program that I joined the board of directors and am now leading the team as the interim Executive Director.”

In closing, as you sort through year-end giving campaigns in your email or your snail mail and prepare for Colorado Gives Day, I urge you to take a serious look at the Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Project as one of your beneficiaries. I guarantee you that your investment, great or small will immediately change a spinal cord injury patient’s life for the better!

So, get up, get out and change someone’s today!

Until next time,

Shelly

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