Help our teammate Ryan Joseph

$209,182 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 2,372 people in 17 months
Created January 11, 2018
Everyone’s friend, 16 year old College Park High School Falcon sophomore Ryan Joseph, son of Kristin and Tom Joseph, suffered a life changing spinal cord injury in a  wrestling meet on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.  Currently Ryan is paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own.  Hopes and prayers are for Ryan to have a speedy recovery and one day regain mobility for independent living. Ryan is being well-treated at the John Muir Trauma ICU in Walnut Creek.  Unfortunately, he is unable to receive visitors at this time, but cards are welcome.

Ryan is well known by friends, teachers and coaches for his charm, exceptional wit and humor.  His family gives heartfelt thanks for the kindness and support they have received from the many communities Ryan has touched at College Park High School, Pleasant Hill Middle School, and Pleasant Hill Elementary.  Special thanks to his beloved wrestling and lacrosse teams.

Please help support Ryan in his time of need!  This will help his family with medical expenses, rehabilitation,  and home accessibility.
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Happy summer and congratulations to all the graduates out there! We have seen a lot of graduation photos, and have been hearing news of where everyone is going to school next year and summer plans which has been fun for us!

Ryan finished up his Junior year at Engelwood High School this May and is looking forward to some down time this summer. I have to laugh though, because down time for Ryan is just cranking up the therapy hours! We are pretty excited for this summer - Ryan was selected for a new study they are doing at Craig Hospital that has a lot of potential for his recovery. The study team will be using electrical stimulation on his spinal cord (all external) and he will be doing many of the same activities he did last summer – a lot of walking and a lot of work with his hands and arms doing repetitive motions hoping to spark a connection. We anticipate he will start the study some time in July and depending on his progress, he could possibly go through October. I know it makes people crazy when we can’t tell them exactly when we will be home, but the nature of this injury is kind of like that. We have learned to take one day at a time and be excited for the progress he has made and try to stay as long as it makes sense and he is improving. Ryan likes to tell people when they ask – “I’ll be home when I am done!”. Done, being the operative word…what is done?! I guess we will know it when we see it!

In other news, we had to change units at the end of May. We are still in the same building, but just a different apartment. Both my kids have moved more this year than in their entire lives! We are all getting a little tired of “stuff”, so it was a nice opportunity to go through what we have and be able to donate some and just get rid of things we don’t need any more. It was also kind of nice to be able to donate some things that Ryan just does not need anymore because of his improvements.

What Ryan is Up to Now - Like the rest of the teenagers out there, he sleeps a LOT (and probably stays up too late) and is still growing like crazy – over 6’+ and counting! In therapy, Ryan continues to work on his walking form and strength and endurance. He is using forearm crutches and is incorporating them more and more into every day activities. The other night, I took out the garbage and came back to find him standing in the hallway with his crutches ready to go to dinner. Last Saturday, he could not sleep and he decided to get up from his bed, transfer to his chair (unplug all the chargers connected to everything), get his clothes from the dresser, put them on – by the time I heard him (this was at 4 in the morning!), he was just getting ready to put his shoes on. I am not sure how he was so stealthy, but this does not bode well for me and Tom when we get home and he decides he is going to sneak out with friends!!

Ryan is happy, healthy and just the same as he has always been. Actually, he does not think he has changed much at all, but I feel differently – this year has been a grind and a test of his will. Failure is definitely part of the process, but he continues to look forward to the next thing that he can do, rather than focus on the things he can’t. He may not think he has changed, but he has. We will be home when we are “done” and are really looking forward to being in our own home, all together, and with friends and family - we miss you all!! Wishing everyone a great summer, and we will keep you all posted with any fun, new, improvements!
Love,
The Joseph Family


Photo & Video Links

Balancing – I had to edit this video so that it cuts out other patients, but he is balancing for at least 4 minutes. It looks like the therapists are helping him, but they are actually pretty hands off.
This video is one that is posted.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yvs7s87jz2f4fds/Balancing.mp4?dl=0

Stairs – Stairs are a challenge because they involve balance, strength and a lot of muscles have to activate to get where he wants to go. Going up/down stairs is relatively new.
This video is one that is posted.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/54k2vx35ezq3ajp/2019-06-06%2010.50.53-1.mp4?dl=0

6 Minute Walk Test – This is at the end of the 6 minute walk test to see how far he can go in 6 minutes – 260.1’ is his lastest record.
This video is one that is posted.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0yt8j16a5wcll5e/2019-06-10%2014.47.24.mp4?dl=0

Done for the Day
https://www.dropbox.com/preview/Camera%20Uploads/2019-06-10%2016.24.48.jpg?role=personal

Thanks for Keeping in Touch!
We wanted to share one of the cards we received from our friend, Virginia Rodriguez, “Kick Ass Mode Activated!” pictured in the photo.
https://www.dropbox.com/preview/Camera%20Uploads/2019-06-10%2016.24.48.jpg?role=personal

Another good one from the Eide Family:
https://www.dropbox.com/preview/IMG_20190612_233420545.jpg?role=personal

Thank you to all of you that continue to send cards, well wishes and call and text us. We appreciate it all tremendously! It is hard to describe our schedule, but I guarantee, by the end of the day, we are wiped out, so if you don’t hear back from us right away, don’t give up on us! None of us are particularly great at social media, so if you have sent a message or posted something and not heard back, we probably don’t know it is there. I (Kristin) also post to Tom’s Facebook page, but don’t have one of my own, so I try not to respond to things, just because it is Tom’s account, and it feels weird, so if you don’t hear from Tom, that might be another reason why! I have also been known to misplace “likes” and such, so to keep us all “safe”, I try to keep my interactions with Facebook minimal!
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I should have added this video too - this one is from yesterday, actually walking on the treadmill. His left leg in this video was needing a little help, but for the most part he was walking on his own for the hour of therapy.
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It is not often I can make direct comparisons in terms of Ryan’s recovery. Yesterday was the exception. Ryan started the NeuroRecovery Network program on May 3, 2018. He was in his power chair and he had to drive up the ramp to get to the treadmill. He was strapped into the harness with a ton of padding and the settings on the machine were all cranked up to support him. All his steps on the treadmill were with assistance. His participation in the NRN program ended in September and he went directly to outpatient training and really has not been on that particular treadmill since. Yesterday, exactly 1 year later, the treadmill was unscheduled and his PT, Kara, took advantage of the opening. Ryan walked up the ramp with PT support and got stepping – all under his own power. He was one big grin the entire time, joking and laughing and thoroughly enjoying himself and some of his favorite people. The videos I posted are from 1 year ago and yesterday. When you see the videos, what strikes me most is that even though he is able to walk, it is not smooth as one would usually think of when treadmill walking. To me, the videos both depict not a start and end, but both new beginnings. The first video shows when he is starting to build the parts to be able to walk, and the second is taking those parts and putting them all together, both something new.

I had another moment yesterday when I was reminded where we started. I was sitting next to a family in the gym that had a son that was early in the recovery process, and they were watching Ryan walk by me with his crutches. They asked how long we had been here and where Ryan had started. The hope of recovery is huge, and to see it happening every day right in front of you is awesome. I remember sitting in their same spot and watching Robert Paylor, the Cal Rugby player, walk by and quizzing Robert’s dad, Jeff – it was about a year ago, and we were that family in the early stages of recovery. Ryan and I were talking about it later because everyone’s recovery is so different. Ryan’s take on the whole thing is that whatever your situation and recovery trajectory is, when you are ready to leave Craig you are definitely better than when you arrived; the full package, mind, body and spirit.

Ryan has been taking care of business at school too. He has been attending two classes every day on campus and has recently added two more on block days. He knocked out his SAT’s in early April and we have even done a college tour. One of the advantages of being at a facility like Craig is that he is surrounded by therapists, trainers, interns and staff that are not too far removed from the college experience themselves (many of them working shifts in the gym and going to school). I am fully capable of putting on the squeeze when it comes to future plans, but I have a whole gym of people that are already on that for me, quizzing him about what he likes, what he wants to do and offering suggestions. Best of all, he sees the kindness, compassion and genuine enthusiasm that they bring to work every day. We talk about this all the time, and we both agree, if he is going to “be” anything, it is most important to be kind, which brings us full circle back to our support system at home. Our family is so grateful for all the kindness and support we have received – it has made all the difference in his recovery! It has allowed us to stay here in Colorado and get the support he needs. When we come home, it will be with no regrets. It is definitely a “strength in numbers” recovery (and speaking of strength in numbers... lately playoff basketball is a fun distraction for us – Go Warriors!). Thanks for being a part of Team Joseph and for being a part of this incredible journey with us!

The Joseph Family

Here are a few more video links if you are interested:
Squats
https://www.dropbox.com/s/wr8qaik77e7b3dk/VID_20190430_104654308.mp4?dl=0

Tough Terrain - walking on the grass/slope
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2a74880mqlpgzbx/2019-04-19%2009.29.10.mp4?dl=0

Ryan gives great hugs and there was a time when we did not think a real hug from him was going to be possible
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8eccix7iq840rna/2019-04-17%2019.19.19.jpg?dl=0

We laugh, because Ryan is now a “Safe Home Ambulator” – the label is funny, but it is kind of a big deal, it means he is safe to walk at home
https://www.dropbox.com/s/pfgjrhhuuhk1h2o/2019-05-01%2017.10.07.jpg?dl=0
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It has been a good few months – we survived our first blizzard (or bomb cyclone) and Ryan donated blood at the Engelwood HS blood drive (#IFightWithJohn) – yes, he still bleeds purple! Ryan was cleared to walk around as much as he can with his forearm crutches and he also got his first taste of lacrosse since his accident. Catching came back fast, he is still tweaking his throw, and moving in his chair and throwing & catching all at once may take a few more sessions! Thanks again to all of you who continue to reach out and send us love and encouragement – we miss home and friends and can’t wait to see everyone soon!

Here are a few more links to photos:
Lacrosse
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hcwmjrkqybpbjyd/2019-03-12%2010.42.28-2.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/g6equnhvj17ov7v/2019-03-12%2010.54.58.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/p1w9q93wzdcmrzw/IMG_20190312_105350809_BURST001.jpg?dl=0

Our First Blizzard
https://www.dropbox.com/s/atycrsh4rri77io/2019-03-13%2012.17.03.jpg?dl=0
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$209,182 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 2,372 people in 17 months
Created January 11, 2018
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