Disability Issues

Website supports people with spinal cord injuries

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Nine-time Emmy Award-winning producer Thea Flaum has created a website that showcases the lives of people with spinal cord injuries.

Flaum was prompted to create facingdisability.com after a family member suffered a spinal cord injury.

The site, which took three years to execute, launched in May 2011 as a support group for people with spinal cord injuries.

It features the stories of more than 100 people with spinal cord injuries.

"We're not looking for sad stories and we're not looking for inspiration. It's really simple. What did you know? What do you know? What have you learned? What part of your experience has been helpful to you that would be helpful to other people?" said Flaum.

Those interviewed were referred to Flaum by several rehabilitation hospitals.

Stephanie Kanter, who became disabled in 1994 after a fall through a railing, was one of the people interviewed.

"You can continue to have a life that's full of quality," said Kanter. "It has challenges but it's very full. You know I've had my ups and downs over the last 18 years, but I have always believed that if I had a disability or not, I'd still have those ups and downs."

Flaum says the response from medical professionals has been great.

"University of Virginia is using our video to develop a series," said Flaum.

Facingdisability.com plans to interview people with traumatic brain injuries next.

"It's estimated that close to 1.7 million people every year sustain some sort of traumatic brain injury," said Dr. Elliot Roth, medical director of the Brain Injury Medicine & Rehabilitation Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. "A big part of what's missing is the need for information about traumatic brain injury. It also is an experience that creates a number of emotional, psychological and other kinds of implications. Social implications and economic implications are not addressed very well." Flaum said she is trying to obtain a grant for the endeavor.

For more information, visit facingdisability.com.

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