September is not only for football season, but it’s also SPINAL CORD INJURY AWARENESS MONTH. When Mik Shevchek’s daughter Lauren was diagnosed with a C5/6 Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and a 1% chance of ever walking again, he wanted to bring a public spotlight on paralysis victims and how to recover from impossible odds. Mik is an award-winning broadcast media producer and has worked on TV, film and documentary projects worldwide.
Lauren Shevchek is currently living life as a quadriplegic. At age 19, just home from her freshman year at Penn State, Lauren broke her neck diving into a black bottom pool. This accident paralyzed her from the neck down which left her completely dependent on others 24/7. Lauren now speaks to schools about SCI and dive awareness. Her presentations helped her win the Help Hope Live’s “Inspiration After Injury – Live It Up Award”. Continuing to inspire and motivate people, the campaign for “Touchdown Dance 2 Walk” was born.
“Let’s turn tragedy into a touchdown and do a Touchdown Dance 2 Walk,” said Shevchek. “Football and sports unite us. Despite team rivalries and politics, we love when our team scores a touchdown! We all want to get up and do our TD dance – everyone has their happy shimmy. SCI recovery takes time to achieve. With each step towards progress, it sparks excitement and brings us closer to our goal.”
Over 1 million Americans are living with paralysis resulting from SCI, and 17,500 new cases are diagnosed every year. SCI is damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal.
SCI affects the lives of victims and their loved ones. Yearly healthcare and living expenses can cost up to $191,000. Estimated lifetime costs range from $3.5 million to $5 million (directly attributable to SCI). There are also indirect costs such as losses in wages, fringe benefits, and productivity, averaging $72,955 per year.
Activity Based Training (ABT) is critical to help SCI victims, costing $100 per hour but is not paid by medical insurance. Lauren hopes to address Congress in the near future to raise medical insurance ceilings to cover the costs for all paralyzed individuals.
Lauren’s motto has always been, “I believe in myself! By sacrificing everything in my being and holding true to my heart and mind, I will never give up that 1% chance of recovery!” She hopes that touchdowndance.org can bring awareness to the great achievements made through ABT and help more people gain access to this type of therapy. “We can make a change with #TDdance2walk!”
Marking the launch of Touchdowndance.org, numerous videos have been released intending to go viral. Each person interested in helping these incredible SCI survivors walk again will make their own TD-dance video, then nominate two friends to do their special dance and/or donate.
“‘Double team’ isn’t just a sports cliché. It really takes two to make progress,” said Shevchek. “What’s your Touchdown Dance 2 Walk? Show us today to raise awareness and donations!”
Money raised from this campaign will be donated to Save A Young Life Foundation (501C3), a charity known for their outstanding work in helping others less fortunate. They will give out grants to SCI survivors who are enrolled in licensed institutions that use this cutting edge, results-driven ABT, which is not currently found in hospitals.
“Fans watch football, not only because they love their teams, but because they can’t wait to see which players bust the best touchdown dance,” said Shevchek. “Touchdown dances have become an art form and such a strong part of the fan experience. We thought people would want the adrenaline rush for themselves! What better way to fundraise than to provide folks a chance to go viral, performing their very own touchdown dance?”