Crucial Medical Equipment

I am absolutely in awe of the amazing and beautiful souls that have made this possible. In these hard times I am rejuvenated by the generosity, love and care that we all have within us. Thank you. I will in short time, hopefully, thank each and everyone of you. Humbly.  Paul

As many of you reading this will know, in 1992 I was an innocent bystander in a gang shooting. I was shot through the chest, the bullet hit my spine, broke my back and left my body paralyzed from the waist down and left me confined to a wheelchair. 

I was lucky though, following the accident I underwent months of rehab at Craig Hospital in Denver. Craig specialize in spinal cord injury rehab and I learnt how to negotiate escalators, get into a car and find ways to not let my disability get in the way of leading an independent life. At Craig, among many other things, I went up in a hot air balloon and weirdly, even rode a horse (I have a lifelong fear of horses!).

I realized that though I’d lost the use of my legs I could still use my arms and upper body and with a little imagination, quite a lot of determination and the support of many amazing friends I’ve managed to lead a full, fun, active, and largely independent life. There were a few challenges, mishaps and accidents along the way but among other things, I learnt to ski, sail, climb rocks, surf, kayak and mountain bike. 

More than this I’ve been fortunate enough to volunteer my skills, helping to convert a hacienda in El Salvador into an eco-resort; training disabled people in Zambia to make wheelchairs from locally sourced materials, and teaching disabled people in the San Francisco bay how to sail.

Many of you reading this will know me through Burning Man and know that my true love in life is making large-scale collaborative art. Some of you will also be aware that over the last few years my paralysis has ascended to the point that I am now paralyzed from the chest down. I'm having severe issues with my shoulders and struggle to move easily without assistance. More importantly I’m finding it difficult to achieve any kind of physical workout. The lack of cardio exercise, and reduced activity in general, is making me weaker, I’m gaining weight, losing muscle mass and increasing my loss of bone density. 

There is however a solution! 

One thing I’ve learned in life is that there is always a solution! This one comes in the shape of a FES bike. FES means Functional Electrical Stimulation and this is a stationary bike where you place electrodes on certain key large muscles, and through the wonders of technology, paralyzed legs cycle. More significantly it:

Builds muscle mass -  this is key because building muscle mass provides crucial padding and helps avoid decubitus ulcers--possibly the main cause of septic death in the spinal cord population. 
Increases bone density -  I was shocked recently when a doctor told me that some of my bones had the same bone density of a 70 year old woman - which I am not. But I feel you sister. 
Provides cardio workout - Increasing blood flow in long dormant body parts, this aids in healing.
I used one of these bikes for 15 years and spent 6 months prior to my cross country motorcycle trip building muscle for the long periods that I’d be sitting on the motorcycle seat. Sadly this particular trip was cut short courtesy of a nail in my front tyre resulting in several broken body parts. 

Unfortunately, this bike is now over 20 years old has come to the end of its useful life. The company that supports it is non-existent and I am unable to get parts to maintain it. I haven’t been able to ride for several years now.

I’ve been in Colorado for the last several weeks riding various FES bikes (please see attached video). There is no other way that I am able to get the exercise my body so desperately needs to stay healthy.

The cost of the bike is in the region of $25,000 but I’ve negotiated a deal with Restorative Therapies for a reconditioned RT300 FES bike and if I decline on-site  set-up and training I can get the bike for $20,965. The RT300 has a feature that allows me to exercise and re-build muscles below my injury line (chest) therefore affording me the benefits mentioned above.

I have through a very generous donation from NorcalSCI.org been able to secure a grant for $2000, unfortunately that grant will go away on December 31st as this is the end of the fiscal year for NorcalSCI. This means I have to find the difference before this date to secure the grant. 

That's where I'm hoping you, my dear friends, may be able to help me out. You’ve all helped me out in so many generous ways on my journey through life and always without me having to ask. I am dreadful at asking for help, as many of you are aware, but I really need your help right now.

With your help I’m hoping I can get back to making art, and while I may not be able to ski or do any of the many activities I love, I can still live a long and healthy life.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I'm attaching a couple of links that give you a bit of a better feel for who I am and what I love to do:

Training on the RT 300 FES bike 

Parkland Art Build 1st year anniversary of shooting 

Mountain Biking Piece in Oregon Daily News 

 

Thank you again, I know this is a big ask within a short timescale but every little helps and even if you’re not in a position to donate, I’d really appreciate you sharing it further.

Donations

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  • Max Nelson-Gal 
    • $200 
    • 6 mos
  • Marshall Smith 
    • $20 
    • 8 mos
  • Suze Paskin 
    • $30 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 9 mos
See all

Organizer

Paul Walker 
Organizer
San Francisco, CA
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