Wheel:Life and Comfort Medical are thrilled to announce our new partnership with the Woody Foundation in an effort to better serve quadriplegics across the US. If you are a quadriplegic or have a spinal cord injury that has caused you to have limited hand dexterity, we invite you to request a free Woody Pack from the Woody Foundation here.
Woody Packs include:
- zip ties,
- ID holders,
- adaptive forks & spoons,
- a cup with a closeable top and long straws that you can heat up and bend into different shapes to make drinking easier,
- a wheelchair cup holder,
- a wheelchair side bag and
- a handy zap (a ring with a stylus attached to it that can be used on many different types of electronic and touch screen devices).
The Woody Pack also includes an adaptive Velcro strap in the backpack that allows you to slide a pen, a spoon, a knife, a fork or any other tool you may need under that strap, and the adaptive strap will hold it next to your hand.
Thanks to our new partnership, Woody Packs also include the opportunity to request a variety of catheter samples that are specifically chosen for people with limited hand dexterity, as well as all of the free books that Wheel:Life offers on the topics of fundraising, accessible travel and relationship advice.
For US-based residents only, Comfort Medical will send you a variety of intermittent catheters that are specifically designed for people with limited hand dexterity, to help you determine which one is best for your individual needs, plus educational materials. You need a prescription for catheters to receive these samples with your Woody Pack request, but Comfort will help you coordinate that if you don’t have one already.
In light of their donation of free samples and ongoing support, Comfort Medical is the exclusive catheter provider in this partnership with the Woody Foundation!
Below, we invite you to learn about the powerhouse who is Woody Beckham, as his own journey with SCI provided the spark that caused the Woody Foundation to take light.
How Woody Beckham Turned His Spinal Cord Injury Into a Global Support Effort
Editor’s Note: James Woodruff Beckham, known to friends and family as Woody, was attending Florida Atlantic University and working toward a degree in ocean engineering. His big dream was to work on the ocean every day. Living in Miami, Florida, Woody had grown up around the water and had a deep passion for snorkeling, scuba diving, free diving and spear fishing. But one tackle in a rugby game changed his life forever. Initially, he felt that life had dealt him a very sour lemon. However, when he changed his perspective from what had happened to HIM to how he could help OTHERS, Beckham and his organization, the Woody Foundation, have to date been able to help change the quality of life for over 700 individuals with paralysis.
Five years ago in 2011, I was playing rugby for my college team – Florida Atlantic University – against the University of Miami on its intramural field. At the beginning of the second half, we were winning. I was sent in to tackle the ball carrier for the other team. I came in low around the ball carrier’s knees, and he kneed me in the neck.
Instantly, I became paralyzed. The paramedics from the University of Miami arrived about 15- 20 minutes after my injury, put me on a board and took me to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
The last thing I remembered was having a halo brace put on my head to realign my spine.
I had a C5-C6 compression fracture dislocation. So, my C5 and C6 vertebrae were fused together. About a day or two later, I woke up and learned that I was a quadriplegic. Today I have limited hand function, and I’m paralyzed from armpit to armpit down. My arms are also compromised, and I have very limited hand function.
When I came to at the hospital after my accident, I thought I would recover and have full function again.
I was a junior in college with a little more than a year left until graduation. I was in acute care for about 10 days. Then I spent 60 days in rehab, going through physical and occupational therapy. I had three, one-hour physical therapy sessions and three, one hour occupational therapy sessions every day, Monday – Friday. I was only focusing on recovering.
But slowly, very slowly, I realized that having full function was not going to happen for me.
One and one half years after my accident, I enrolled at Florida International University. Then in December, 2015, I graduated with a finance degree from there. I currently work as the Community Outreach Director for the Center for Independent Living of South Florida. I also work for the Woody Foundation.
The Roots of the Woody Foundation
When I was first injured, I knew nothing about having limited hand function and/or a paralyzed body. I didn’t know where to go for information about where to get devices that would help people with limited hand function.
Early on, I bought a wide variety of devices. They were somewhat costly, and they didn’t work well for me.
That’s when I considered the possibility of putting together a backpack containing low-tech devices that would enable individuals with limited hand function to overcome their limitations and regain freedom and independence in their lives. About 20 different low-tech devices are in the “Woody Packs” – these backpacks that we send to people who have quadriplegia like I have.
Thanks to our partnership with Wheel:Life and Comfort Medical, our Woody Packs also include the opportunity to request a variety of catheter samples that are specifically chosen for people with limited hand dexterity, as well as all of the free books that Wheel:Life offers on the topics of fundraising, accessible travel and relationship advice.
You can go to our website www.woodyfoundation.org, look at what we have available and select the items you want in your backpack, and we’ll ship it to you. Also, we have a description of how to use each product and a photo of each product on our webpage. So far, we’ve sent out over 700 of these backpacks.
We started the Woody Foundation two years before we started sending out backpacks. We’ve also donated backpacks to the Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in the south Florida area. We’ve also connected with a wide variety of organizations that help people with paralysis like Project Walk and iAM ABLE Fitness.
We distribute our backpacks in a variety of different ways to people all over the county who have limited hand function. Our goal is to expand the Woody Foundation to help more individuals with limited hand function regain their independence.
After I became paralyzed, not having any hand function was the biggest problem in my life.
But I’ve discovered I can regain much of my independence by using various kinds of devices to help me perform different tasks. The Woody Foundation is trying to help people with paralysis break down barriers and become more independent.
To raise money for the foundation, we hold four big events every year. We have a Lionfish Bash Spear Fishing Tournament in June. The lionfish is an invasive species that is causing havoc on fish populations throughout the oceans, in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and more specifically around the Miami area.
We put on events throughout the year too like golf classics, a Maine lobster feast at the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove, benefit concerts, and ice cream parties to name a few. The Woody Foundation also has gotten a few grants and some private donations. Thanks to our fundraising events, we’ve been able to donate over $100,000 worth of equipment to Jackson Memorial Hospital!
My goal for the Woody Foundation is for it to have a bigger positive impact on the world for people with paralysis – more specifically for people with different disabilities with their hand functions.
We get letters from people who have received our backpacks telling us how much they appreciate the items we’ve put in the packs and for showing them how to use these items.
One of the most important items in our backpacks is a flash drive in both English and Spanish with many of the available resources listed about different organizations and the help they can provide for individuals with paralysis to aid them in becoming more active and more independent. This flash drive also contains information about various health issues that affect people with disabilities.
About the Author: John E. Phillips
For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at www.johninthewild.com.