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I am Renee Whisner. I am a United States Air Force veteran and mother of two grown children. I worked in logistics for 20 years and I have always been very active. I love to bike and am an avid traveler.

I spent a year in India earning advanced certification as a yoga instructor and was about to go home to start my new career when it happened.

What happened:  On November 3, 2014, I was in a cab that hit a tree and left me paralyzed from the chest down. My neck was broken at C-4 and C-5 which was later surgically put back into place with a titanium plate and four titanium screws. I am considered to be “C4 complete.” This means I do not have any motor and sensory function below the injury site. 

Where I was: After over 9 months in various hospitals and numerous additional stays in the Tampa Veterans Hospital, I have made a lot of progress. Now I am living in my mother and step-father’s living room.

I was receiving occupational and physical therapy at home through the VA hospital. I was making tremendous progress with my arms and my upper body. About 6 months ago, my doctors informed me that they were no longer going to give me occupational or physical therapy. They said they don't want me to feel like they are giving up on me – but that is exactly what they are doing. This was especially puzzling because my occupational therapist in Tampa stated in her report that I needed to continue with therapy because I was making improvements. Her report also stated that, despite this, the VA was giving up on me.

Fortunately, I found another VA doctor who magically got my occupational therapist back 3 days a week, thank goodness. However, I am not receiving any physical therapy for my legs other than what I am able to do for myself. If I have to continue much longer without therapy on my legs, my muscles will start to atrophy and there may be no more room for improvement. 

What happened next:
With your support I was able to go to Kennedy Krieger Institute’s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury in Baltimore Maryland. Where I obtained valuable information and techniques through restorative therapy that I can do at home.

The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI) at Kennedy Krieger Institute was founded on the philosophy that individuals with paralysis can always hope for recovery of sensation, function, mobility, and independence, months and even years after injury. ICSCI is one of the first facilities in the world to combine innovative research with a unique focus on restoration and rehabilitation for children and adults with chronic paralysis.

Their groundbreaking therapies are designed to restore function, sensation, mobility, and independence, while offsetting the debilitating complications patients with spinal cord injury experience.

I believe they will teach me new ways of doing things so that I will be more independent right away. From everything I have heard, seen and read, the intentions that I have for myself are very much possible! With the training I will receive from Kennedy Krieger, the expectations I have set for myself, and continued therapy at home I will walk again.

Kennedy Krieger has a very high success rate with their patients. Here’s one of many success stories about what is possible. https://www.kennedykrieger....

Cost Estimate
International Center for Spinal Cord Injury:  $42,137 (after a 20% discount)
Travel (includes 4 weeks in a specially equipment hotel room): $6,000

Where I am now:
Upon returning home after Kennedy Krieger I immediately started to get the equipment needed to continue my therapy at home. It was at this point that I realized there was not enough money for the things I needed. Here are the most expensive items needed.

EasyStand Glider Medium

RT 300 FES LE ergometer

The Convert-able Table by R.E.A.L Design

Electric Hi-Lo Mat Treatment Table 

My dream: I want to walk again, and I believe it is possible with the help of the experts at Kennedy Krieger Institute’s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. I have been accepted into their program. My occupational therapist says I am more than ready for Kennedy Krieger Institute and will benefit greatly from intensive therapy. 

My intention is to:

·         Be able to feed, groom, and help myself

·         Regain my arm and hand functions

·         Regain my muscle strength and stamina

·         Get out of this machine – maybe not at first but very soon

I know I will be a different person when I leave the SCI Unit at Kennedy Krieger Institute. I also want to be more than just ‘a woman who survived an accident.’ I want to do something with the rest of my life.

I am already starting to move forward with my life. I have created a blog on my website about the day in the life of a quadriplegic to help others who are newly facing this reality understand how to deal with it all.

Spirituality is an important part of my life. I am now a prayer chaplain in my church and am studying to be a licensed spiritual teacher. I have also joined Toastmasters, so I can improve my ability to share my story and my upcoming success with the world. 

Thank you

I sincerely appreciate any and all support including prayers. All I ask is that if you're unable to make a donation, would you please share my post? Those that you share it with may be able to help by making a donation.

I love you all!



  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 5 yrs


Renee Whisner
Naples, FL

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