OK people, think “Indian Summer”! I would definitely enjoy a few more weeks of warm weather, trips to the beach, concerts in the park, dinners on the patio, and other outdoor excursions. It seems like an “about face” from my years in Colorado where we all yearned for the snow to start falling in October in anticipation of the snowboarding season. Times have changed.
Exactly, one year ago my life was turned upside down. My accident was unfortunate and tragic. Now a year later, when I reflect, the images in my mind of getting pulled out of the water and ambulance rides to various hospitals have faded. I choose to remember all the bright memories of the last time I was walking. In typical McCauley fashion, it was a weekend mixed with R&R and running amok. Spending time with good friends, playing in the surf, bonfires on the beach, tailgate BBQ, toes in the cool sand, sneaking Tahoe into the local pub for a late night game of billiards, cutting through the tree lined Hampton back-roads in the back of a pickup under a beautiful sky filled with stars, and a fresh ocean breeze. That’s how I remember the weekend of Sept 14th, 2008. It was the ideal weekend getaway from a sweltering city in the summertime.
My entrepreneurial spirit has finally gotten the better of me and I’ve decided to devote my time, skills, and energy to taking the David J McCauley Foundation to the next level. I’ve been amazed at the support YOU (ie. Family, friends, colleagues, people with big hearts) have shown this past year through charitable donations to my foundation. It has been truly life changing and inspiring. Recently, my brother attended the Working2Walk Conference in Chicago. He took copious notes and informed me of all the progressive research being done to find a cure for SCI (Spinal Cord Injury). Doctors and scientists think a cure is inevitable and close, but nobody was willing to put a time frame on finding a cure due to a lack of reliable funding for research. Hearing this broke my heart. Doctors are close to a cure, but are limited by lack of funds? Then the light bulb appeared and I realized where I fit into this community to find a cure. I could raise funds. I could teach others how to raise funds. I could be the “hype man” for SCI and raise awareness. I view fundraising as a Sales Organization, of which I’ve had plenty of experience and success over the past 10 years. Raising money for SCI will be different than selling innovative networks to Silicon Valley or electronic trading solutions to Wall St because true passion will be the underlying ambition to succeed. Trust me, the opportunity to walk again, and help others walk again, is greater motivation than a better title or bigger paycheck. And with these ideas, I’m jumping into the non-profit world to help myself as well as others in need with similar conditions.
Its still fresh and in an infancy stage, but I have a big dream to grow the David J McCauley Foundation into a titan. The mission is to raise funds and contribute to medical research, individuals in need of adaptive equipment or alternative therapies, and the education and employment of people with disabilities. The latter goal of presenting an employment opportunity for people with disabilities, I hold dear to my heart. Providing a chance for people, who are now incapable of pursuing their former (pre-injury) career, to help themselves will be empowering to all parties involved. So wish me luck on this journey, keep me in your prayers, and please continue to support and raise awareness about the David J McCauley Network for a Cure. None of this would be possible without your contributions and for that I am incredibly thankful!
Now on to the summertime update! Aside from my leap into the non-profit world, the summer has been quite eventful. Rosaleen threw a surprise birthday party for me on our apartment complex roof deck back in June. I was a little suspect when she told me she was having dinner delivered to the roof. So when we went upstairs, instead of finding a romantic candlelit dinner, there were a bunch of my cronies carousing, ready to celebrate. Everybody had a blast. Our rooftop is really quite amazing, jutting out into the Hudson River, with a view of the entire Manhattan skyline, from the Verrazano Bridge up to the George Washington Bridge.
My family came to visit for Father’s Day and did some NYC sightseeing. The Paulus Hook Ferry Terminal is about a 5 minute walk from my apartment. So we took a boat ride to South Street Seaport one night for dinner. It’s a great little trip, only 10 minutes or so, but you travel around the southern tip of Manhattan and see all of New York Harbor including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Skyscrapers of Financial District, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg Bridges. The ferry docks at Wall St, Pier 11, just south of the tall ships anchored at the seaport.
Children from Rosaleen’s non-profit, Urban Art Beat (PLUG – www.urbanartbeat.org), were selected to perform at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, alongside major acts like DJ Premier and Pharoahe Monch. My dad was officially the oldest person in attendance On the way home from the festival, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and cruised down the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
For the 4th of July we took a trip to a little hippy retreat called Earthdance in the Berkshires (Western Massachusetts), where Rosaleen’s sister was an instructor. It was refreshing to be out in the woods, relax, and catch up on my leisure reading.
We have definitely been taking advantage of summer events in the city. Central Park Summerstage has been in full effect and we caught a Lee “Scratch” Perry concert one afternoon and a Q-Tip show the following day. Lucky for us, the disabled seating section is the same as the VIP section, so we were literally right next to the stage on an elevated platform for the performance. The park buzzes with energy in the summer and we had beautiful sunny days for the concerts, perfect for a reggae show. Green trees in full bloom, mazes of pathways in every direction, people playing pick-up soccer games, running, biking, skating around the paved track, tourists in rickshaws or horse carriages, sunbathing in Sheep’s Meadow, the old school roller skate disco area is always filled with characters, and city peeps getting out to enjoy their little slice of nature.
Also in July we celebrated Bastille Day on Smith St in Brooklyn. Several blocks were barricaded off and the entire street was covered with sand for a petanque (like bocce ball) tournament. All the boutiques, restaurants and bars had their doors open as people wandered up and down the street drinking champagne mixed with St. Germain.
In August, we went down to LBI (Long Beach Island) on the Jersey Shore for Rosaleen’s family’s annual beach vacation. Rosaleen’s grandmother typically rents two monstrous beach houses for her family which consists of three sons, each of which have three daughters. Which I think is a funny demographic. Everybody gets to relax for a week, share massive meals, catch up with cousins, uncles, fathers, daughters, grandkids, great grandkids, and partners to reminisce, and talk about what the future holds. I must admit I dominated in Taboo one evening We scored a beach accessible wheelchair from the lifeguard station so I was able to bask in the sun with everybody else.
Also in August, we had another rooftop party for Rosaleen’s birthday. No surprise party this time around, but we did have the local deli put together a delicious spread of food for all our friends who came out. It was another beautiful summer night.
Therapy has been going well and now that I can set my own schedule I will be able to take full advantage of spending more time at Kessler Rehab Institute. I was able to purchase a standing frame with the monies donated to the foundation, which is great for me to be able to do often at home. The standing frame is adaptive equipment that supports my body so I may stand upright. This exercise is beneficial by putting weight on my muscles and bones so they don’t atrophy or grow frail. I am in the process of applying for a locomotor training clinical trial which will also incorporate FES (Functional Electronic Stimulation). I’ll be supported by a harness to stand upright over a treadmill like piece of equipment. The FES electrodes will be connected to my legs, as the electrodes activate and shoot electricity into my body, my muscles will “fire” and with the help of therapists moving my legs, I will walk. The trial is 60 sessions over the course of 4 months, so approximately 4 sessions per week. Results from this therapy have shown promise in many patients, helping to reestablish communication to parts of the body below the level of injury. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about being a lab rat
So that’s about it. Life has been full of exciting changes with many more on the horizon. Stay tuned for updates on development of the David J McCauley Network for a Cure! Hope to see you at one of the upcoming fundraising events in Indianapolis or Denver! Thanks so much for all the support!
Peace and Blessings.