Posted on August 14, 2013
August 14, 2013
A lot has happened since our last update, and Rosa has made tremendous progress.
The Post-Rehab Transition
Rosa spent eight weeks in rehab at Craig Hospital in Denver, where her constant companions were her girlfriend, Caroline Goodman and her dear friend Paul Arredondo, who came from California to be with her throughout rehab. Rosa and Caroline returned to Durango in mid-July. Within a week, Rosa started a job at Backcountry Experience, a gear store in town. Along with starting work, Rosa is swimming a few times a week at the rec center, going to Crossfit training to strengthen her upper body, and using the adaptive road bike that Mike Kane, a friend in Leadville, passed down to her. Many daily tasks that were challenging for Rosa—even two weeks ago—have become much easier because of the strength and stamina she is developing.
Creating an Accessible Home
Two generous friends, Jim Martucci and Barry Livingston, built a beautiful ramp and small deck on Rosa’s house. They also installed other adaptations to make the house accessible and safe, and the landlord found a beautiful, nearly new cooking range with front panel controls at a local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. Hank, Rosa’s dog, seems to like his new digs and has a big fenced yard to roam in (along with his two canine roommates). Rosa lives with her good friends Lilly Goodman and Nick Chambers, and the place feels homey. Swain Scales, a fellow former wilderness guide, is helping finish some work on the house and walkway.
Launching a Para Athletic Life
Rosa drove to Telluride August 8-11 to attend the No Barriers Summit, which highlights adaptive sports. She got to try out cross country mountain biking, downhill mountain biking, and took a 12-mile ride on a road bike (hand cycle). She came home exhausted, aching, and happy. She is hoping to have an adaptive mountain bike of her own in the next few months and to begin adaptive skiing this winter. In the meantime, she is continuing with swimming and weight training.
Setting Up Systems for Independence
Rosa’s dad, Charlie, and I are in Durango since for 6 to 8 weeks to help her get settled and set things up to support Rosa’s independence and mobility. Rosa is getting stronger every day. Adjusting to life as a paraplegic is a long and hard process, but Rosa’s strength and determination are propelling her forward.
Our community of friends here and around the world has been beautiful, with many people contributing love, time, skills, connections, adaptive gear, and financial support. So many friends have supported Rosa through this journey. On August 16, Zap Mama will be performing in Durango and the producer, Tami Graham, will donate part of the proceeds to Rosa’s fund. After Lilly Goodman and Nancy Brittain organized Durango Races for Rosa, our friend David McNally organized a Toronto Run for Rosa, which inspired Charlotte Bence to initiate London Runs for Rosa on August 31. In case you know anyone in London who might be interested in participating, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/224184284401202/?ref=br_tf. A Durango friend, Anne Hosey, organized a benefit yard sale. More than 30 Colorado Outward Bound guides have donated a day’s pay. Nancy Reno, a Durango firefighter, is organizing other firefighters to help with handyman tasks. Traci Moriarty of Wags Between Barks Dog Training has been training Hank to be a therapy dog on a volunteer basis. Rosa’s aunt, Libby Post, has offered to contribute her professional fundraising skills to Rosa’s campaign. We are truly overwhelmed and moved by these efforts and so many others we don’t have room to mention—and also by the more than 540 donors who have made contributions.
Many friends have been continuously loving and helpful throughout these months. We can’t possibly name all the people who have been there for Rosa, but we do want to particularly thank Caroline Goodman, Paul Arredondo, Lilly Goodman, Cecil Goodman, Nick Chambers, Greg Young, Abby Wehner, Wes Smith, Nancy Brittain, Cindy Wendling, Richard Malcolm, and Rosa’s sister, Zara Stern-Frazier.
We are bowled over by the expense, time, and work involved in facilitating independence for someone with a spinal cord injury, and we’re extremely grateful for your support. We could not have done it without everyone’s help.
I had an injury myself in May and haven’t been able to post updates or write thank you notes because I was unable to type. I’m glad to be back in action, and we will post new photos and thank you each individually in the coming days.
-Terésa Stern, Rosa’s mom