Help Otto fight paralysis, and help him walk again!

For: Otto Miller
Queensbury, NY
Organizer: Edward Miller
$41,750
of $75,000 goal.
Raised by 503 donors
55% Complete
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The Story

Our son, Otto Miller, was a recent Graduate of Queensbury High School. His #1 passion was playing ice hockey and played for the QHS Spartans through his high school years. He also loved track and was the football team's videographer. Most recently he worked really hard to get accepted to the University of Maryland Baltimore County for college, and to play hockey for the UMBC Retrievers Hockey Team in which he was recruited for.  He went there prior to the school spring semester starting and was living with some of his hockey teammates so he could practice and play in some games. Just 2 days before move in to his dorm he had a terrible fall and broke his neck and back.  The damage in his back was so severe it severed his spinal cord.  He is paralyzed from the waste down. We are thankful he survived and also that he does have the use of his arms and neck.  Otto is a strong young man with a strong spirit, but the road to a functioning and a new normal life will be a long and hard one. Please help Otto with the financial burden of the many things that insurance may not cover. Rehabilitation, hotel bills, travel, remodeling the home. Honestly, we have no idea of the full extent of what is ahead of us. We just know it's not something we can do on our own. 
We are saddened as you can imagine that Otto will now not be able to do the many things he loved so much. He enjoyed hiking in the Adirondacks. He was an avid nature photographer.  He loved to Downhill ski, wake board, run, play ice hockey, roller blade and more. These are all things that he enjoyed doing with his younger brother Ian. Virtually everything he enjoyed the most required his strong legs. Some of things he still might be able to do, but in a modified way. 
Please join Team Otto to help him have as normal life as possible from this point forward.  We have had dozens of requests for those sensitive to making payments online. If you'd prefer, please make check payable to: Team Otto  Mail to TD Bank 340 Aviation Rd. Queensbury, NY 12804.  
Thank you for all your love, prayers and support.
Sarah, Eddie, Otto and Ian

If anyone would love to see his photography check it out at https://500px.com/oruv

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 18, 2017

Posted on March 18, 2017

Thank you all for your love and support. It’s been just over a year since Otto’s accident. We apologize for not updating more often, but as you can imagine life is a bit hectic. As you can also imagine the need for financial assistance continues. Spinal cord injuries can cost anywhere between 1 to 5 million dollars over a lifetime. Otto will be on the lower end of that since he is a paraplegic versus a quadriplegic, and because he is making incredible progress. Much of his progress is due to his will and determination, but the important part of the formula is your help has allowed him to take an aggressive approach. While in the Intensive Care Unit he was told he would never walk again, he told the doctor, “I will walk again, and it will be by my 20th birthday.” This is his goal, and supporters are making it possible.

In April of 2016 he returned home from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. His living area was completed in time for his return. Your donations helped cover materials not donated. The great majority of the labor was provided at no charge by a local construction company, Rozell Industries, but others contributed where they could. With the donations Otto was able to get a select comfort bed that raises and lowers. Air mattress beds are preferred for paraplegics to avoid bed sores from pressure points. We obtained a chair lift to allow him to go to basement living area. He can work out on the weight set down there, and we hope as he becomes more and more independent he can do his own laundry. He is 19 so… we’ll see.

After Otto returned home we arranged for rehabilitation visits at the Glens Falls Hospital Rehabilitation Center. They have a pool, which provided a healthy way to start working muscles without injury.

In July Otto and his girlfriend, Jenny Bee, took a trip to Maine for a week. This was a huge undertaking on their part. Mom and Dad were nervous, but it was a big confidence booster and learning experience for Otto and Jenny.

In August, the Miller family was visited by a dear friend, Nicole Giorgi-Costello. She came up from Florida for a week to help Otto with a holistic healing approach. They practiced: Various Yoga Techniques such as: Breath Work Exercises known as Pranayama, Deep Healing Relaxation known as Yoga Nidra, Various Meditation Techniques, Vibrational Sound Technique known as Japa Yoga, Reiki & Self Study as relates to various Sacred Texts known as svadhyaya. This was a blessing because it showed him ways to deal with anxiety, some possible PTSD, and issues related to falling asleep. Mom and dad learned some Yoga Nidra. We all wish she could be in NY to do this with us every week. 😊

In September, Otto finally got his chance to go to Tampa to see Ken Bryant. Otto had been waiting all summer. Ken is a reflexologist that specializes in helping those with Spinal Cord Injuries. Ken has a gift from God, the universe, or whatever one wants to call it. It is truly amazing. Ken tries to share it with as many people as his schedule will allow. Otto spent a week with him. Remember, Otto has a completely severed spinal cord. He is not supposed to be able to control anything below his chest. Ken applies his energy to certain areas. All SCI patients have different levels of response, but for Otto, Ken was able to restore Otto’s control of his hip flexors, core stomach muscles, and back muscles on the very first day. Ken tried for bladder control too, but that did not work. By the third day Otto stood up with help holding knees together and mostly using his arms. He was putting about 40 pounds of pressure using his legs while pushing up.

This was a huge milestone. This allows Otto to get more from his current work outs and therapy.

In October, Otto was approached by Fit City Owner, Tara Siltzer. She did a fundraiser to help pay for a year membership and 2 to 3 weekly personal training sessions. Since then, Otto has gained control of his adductors and abductors, and works on a machine with 40 pounds.

In November, Otto started going to the Sunnyview Rehabilitaion Center in Schenectady New York. They have a exoskeleton called the EksoGT built by Ekso Bionics. This device that him walk. This amazing devices senses Otto’s initiation or each step. This is why it was so amazing and critical for Otto to get control over his hip flexors. Thank you Ken Bryant!  Otto has made so much progress he is now using braces once a week and learning to walk using parallel bars to support himself.  The goal will eventually be to walk with leg braces and use arm crutches for support.  

If you want to help Otto reach his goal by July to walk again, please help him out in 2017.  If you can't help at this moment, please share Otto's story with family and friends that might be able to.

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.  Go TeamOtto!
Peace and Love, Otto, Ian, Sarah & Eddie


Posted on July 26, 2016

Posted on July 26, 2016

Thank you all for your continued love and support.
Today is the 6 month anniversary of Otto's accident, but it is also Otto's 19th birthday. We are so incredibly thankful we are able to celebrate his birthday today! Maybe we should call it his rebirthday? Otto went from being near death with a body core temperature of 87 degrees by the time EMTs got to him, to being alert the next day, surviving a major spinal reconstructive surgery later that day, then getting through another surgery on his neck vertebrae a couple days later, then being out of ICU in a week(we were initially told it may be 4-8 weeks), then moving on to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta in 17 days. He then worked his tail off in rehabilitation to be able to leave in 8 weeks.  All the while beautiful souls from all over the world helped support us with love, prayers, and contributions for medical and home renovation expenses. Friends and neighbors also made meals for me and Ian while Sarah and Otto were away. The meal train was a huge help. They also sent multitudes of care packages to provide Sarah and Otto with many of the comforts of home while they were away. Thank you all so much. 

We are still amazed at how fast Otto recovered. We are also still blown away by the house renovations. They worked hard not only to have his new living area ready by the time he arrived on April 9th, but also have it look awesome and be fully functional. Anyone who knows house renovations knows it sometimes doesn't work out that way. haha 

Since Otto has been home we've had some ups and downs, but the downs are minor and we always find a way to wheel through them. In late April we went to Ocean City Maryland for a family vacation, which was planned the previous year. We figured it was paid for, and why not get Otto to the beach as we had planned just if he was still in school at University of Maryland Baltimore County.  Our original plan was to pick Otto up on the way down. We were able to rent a beach wheelchair so he could get out onto the beach and enjoy the sand. We did too! The first day it was blowing 30 mph. haha The next day was beautiful. He spent some quality time with his brother, Ian, and his girlfriend, Jenny Bee, who has been by his side from the beginning.  

Since then Otto has been continuing weekly rehabilitation through the Glens Falls hospital.  He is enjoying it, and seems to be getting some strength back in the rehab pool.  Wish we had our own, especially with this hot summer we are having. :)

Earlier in July, Otto and his girlfriend embarked on a journey through Maine.  They had a great time together. Otto took incredible pictures. We wish this website had more picture sharing capabilities. 

We recently had a local fundraiser to help pay for a vehicle that could be modified with hand controls.  We are still in the process of finding something that is suitable for his needs. This is important for us to see him move on to 100% independence.  Wow. Car insurance is a bit crazy for a young man his age. Ouch! Let's just say, we'll keep him on our plan for a while. I am pretty sure college is ruled out for a little while. There are incredible opportunities for him regardless of what direction he goes. He can certainly do the college thing at a later date.  Right now our focus is on health first! Then overcome one hurdle at a time.

Up next, a close friend is coming from up from Florida to provide Otto with some holistic healing. Using Reiki and meditation we hope to help him heal on a deeper level than we all seem to forget about. In September Otto and Sarah will be headed to Tampa for more Reiki therapy, but this time it will be a full week with a Spinal Cord specialist, Ken Bryant. People do not walk out of his office, but all come out with more feeling and movement than what they had previously. So, this is very exciting. If Otto can't have it all back immediately, which we know is a far stretch, he would definitely love to have his abdominals back. This would give him even more mobility and may make it easier to participate in some mobile sports. Such as hand cycling and/or sled hockey.

Eventually we would like to set up a dedicated webpage so we can provide everyone with more regular updates and images.   

That's it for now.  go TeamOtto!

Thank you all again for your love and support. 
Sarah, Eddie, Ian & Otto 


Posted on March 12, 2016

Posted on March 12, 2016

Time is flying by. I am Sorry for not keeping all of you posted more often, but as you probably understand things are a bit hectic. Thank you all again for all your continued love, prayers and incredible support for Otto! Otto is doing great. Otto went from the University of Maryland Medical Center to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for his rehabilitation. We expect him to be there until the end of March or first week of April.  Then he will return home.  We live in a regular size ranch and found that converting the house to fit his needs, especially the main bathroom would have been very difficult with time allotted. So, instead we decided to give up our garage and make that a semi-independent living space with proper accommodations, such as a large bathroom, small kitchenette, special closet, desk, mini fridge and microwave, front entrance with deck and ramp, and a lift so he can go to basement to do laundry or use that entertainment room. There are scores of people to thank for their commitment to provide labor as needed and also many donations of items needed for his new living area. We will thank those people by name and association in due time. 

As far as a glimpse into Otto's state of mind, here is a note he wrote almost a month ago.  He is doing even better physically and mentally now.

Not even sure where to begin. There are too many thank yous to give out. I'll try. Thank you to Brian Rozell, Bill & Melody Smith, Jimmy Fitzgerald, Mike Phinney and Jeff Stewart everything they've done and are doing for my house. Thank you to the Down Town City Tavern and every other business that has had a fundraiser or has donated money. Thank you to AYHA for the donation and the support!  Thank you to Cody Holyoke and Gordon Woodworth for spreading my story in the news. Thank you to Leslie Tresten-Fitzgerald and Jennifer Ingalls Randall for coming down to visit me at UMMC. It meant a lot. Thank you to everyone who wore blue yesterday for me and my brother,that was amazing. Thank you to Betsy Grove for all of the amazing positive Facebook posts. Thank you to Patricia Pensel for doing all of the research for rehab centers. Thank you to Adam Pensel for everything he has done in fundraising and spreading the word! Thank you to Kathy Bee for visiting me and being there for me! Love you. Thank you to every single person who has donated money on the youcaring site. We're almost at the goal! Also thank you to all of the people at QHS who made cards for me. They were all so sweet! Thank you to every single person who has sent a prayer. I can feel the prayers and they feel good! Keep them coming! Thank you to my amazing girlfriend Jenny Bee who spent so much time with me in the hospital and never left my side. We will be celebrating our 1 year 3 months on the 16th. She is in Baja Mexico right now living it up! I can't wait to see you again my love ????. Thank you to my mommy Sarah Miller who has spent every single day with me in the hospital and will be with me for all of rehab. I love you so much. We miss UMMC but we're starting to feel at home here. Thank you to my dad Edward Miller has done so much traveling back and forth, thanks to my uncle George Pensel, between home and Maryland to see me and get the car haha. And for all of the work he is doing for the house and research to help me walk again one day! Thank you to my little brother, Ian Miller, for being strong and being there for me. I love you bro and I loved seeing you and I'll see you again very soon! Thanks Richard Miller for your love and positive messages everyday. I love you and I'll see you soon. Thank you to my grandparents Bonnie and Frank Mundy for coming down to visit me. Also thanks to my aunt Deb Luchs for visiting me and taking care of me at UMMC. She got me an awesome eye mask for sleeping and ear plugs as well. I'm putting them to good use! It was so good to see you guys! Thanks also to my other set of grandparents, Richard and Marilyn Bordeau for the love and support they have sent me. Thank you also to Timothy Rios, Eric Merzig and Zack French for being there for me always. You guys are my brothers. Love ya doods. Thank Tya Schoppepee for being the best ICU nurse, along with Andrew Castro and Nora Tamulevichh. Thanks for taking such good care of me and truly being compassionate. There are many people I can't tag yet for waiting friend requests but I'll edit the post later. I want everyone to know I'm doing great and they have me down in rehab for 5 weeks. So we will see how that goes. I have a trip to ocean city Maryland in April with my family and girlfriend and I can't wait. My dad and I have been doing research on tech to help me regain sensation and walk again. My current goal is my 20th birthday. Let's make it happen! I love you all and just thank you so much for everything! #TEAMOTTO !!!!

So, as you can see he is doing well and is so grateful for the support. The list is growing everyday. There have been a multitude of fundraisers since he wrote this note and other contractors who have stepped up to help. Adirondack Thunder hockey team, Southy's Pizza, Lake George Crossfit, Adirondack Youth Hockey, Queensbury Hockey, Saratoga HS Hockey, Christian Brothers Academy HS Hockey, UMBC Hockey, Gross Electric, Precise Painting, Northern Mechanical, and so many more individuals. As things progress we will have more time to post more frequent updates on Otto's progress.

Thanks again for everyone's support.
Sarah, Eddie, Ian & Otto & the rest of TeamOtto

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