Valley Life for All: Mods4Quads helps individuals with paralysis
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: The Vail Daily, in conjunction with Valley Life For All, continues a monthly series of profiles about people in our community who have different abilities. As we all share a new challenge labeled COVID-19, we can learn from our friends and neighbors who have grown strong making their way through a life that has been out-of-the-norm. In this new reality of challenge, they are the leaders.
“I knew it before I hit the ground,” says Adam Lavender, recalling the day he became a quadriplegic eight years ago.He was mountain biking with friends, happy, but tired. He negotiated a turn wrong on the course and found himself vertical in the air.
His head hit the ground like a hammer to a nail. The impact broke the C4 in his neck. The only thing that kept him alive was thinking of his wife and two daughters. “I began working to live right then,” he says.
His goal is to be bodily fully functional.
Susan Leety, a healing science friend of Lavender, saw his passion, not only to recover himself, but to help others as well. One day, she watched Adam talking to another person with a spinal cord injury.
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“I saw an instant connection like they were long lost friends [sharing] such a rich exchange of information, comparing their experience and recovery, teaching and learning so much from each other. I knew in my heart that what I was witnessing was empowering people with paralysis.”
Because of that, Mods4Quads was born. In its unveiling stage, Mods4Quads’ mission is to offer free resources, education, and community to empower individuals with paralysis to get their lives back on track, says Leety, the executive director. The name of their company includes four M’s: Modules, modifications, methods and manipulations.
“Adam is our frontline healer,” says Leety. “He never doubts that his life will improve and that there is a goal to strive for, or something to enjoy.” She calls him a “Rolodex of healing information.”
Lavender says, “We want to convert fundamental information on spinal cord injury through lived experiences. We want a group of ambassadors to share their stories. Through our videos, we can share success stories, or if someone just got an SCI, they can reach out to someone with similar injuries.”
No one is prepared for an SCI, he continues. “They’re thrust into a world of confusion, with no information, and no place to see what other people are doing about it.”
The long-term goal is to get a real-time recovery SCI community through videos and posts, as well as inviting nonprofits, clinical trials, research studies, equipment companies and more to come aboard.
Meanwhile, Lavender is getting closer to his goal: once only able to lift his biceps, he now curls a 20 lb. dumbbell, sit-skis without outriggers, and walks in water. “I wept when that happened,” he says.
Local nonprofit Valley Life for All is working to build inclusive communities where people of all abilities belong and contribute. Find us at valleylifeforall.org or on Facebook.