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news News Friday, September 6, 2019 Friday, September 6, 2019 8:11 AM - Friday, September 6, 2019 8:11 AM

Former patient inspires families and shares resources with staff

After sustaining a spinal cord injury, Josh created SPINALpedia to build a spinal cord injury community

Former patient inspires families and shares resources with staff

Former Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia patient Joshua visited the hospital to inform and inspire patients, families and staff members to live their most adventurous lives, even after sustaining a catastrophic injury.

Josh was 18 years old when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury while on a family vacation in Delaware. His paralysis rendered him a C4-5 quadriplegic. He underwent restorative therapy at the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital in 2004.

Josh was joined by his colleague Kelley. Kelley was injured in a car accident when she was 16, rendering her a paraplegic. Her path crossed with Josh’s in Capitol Hill as they both served their communities as lawyers.

Kelley and Josh spoke to patients, families and staff members about their lives after sustaining respective spinal cord injuries, and shared resources that offer mentoring, informational services and companionship for others with spinal cord injuries.

In 2007, Josh created SPINALpedia.com. Since then, SPINALpedia has become the largest paralysis-focused video mentoring network in the world, with over 13,000 videos. Video content ranges from vehicle adaptations to shaving tutorials and everything in between. Content is broken down by physical functionality and categorized for optimized searching.

“The motto of our website is ‘See it, Believe it, Do it,’” said Josh. “Learning from each other provides a unifying language and lets the community know that they are not alone on this journey.”

The SPINALpedia community extends to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

SPINALpedia provides mentoring and information services to families navigating life post-injury. Families can also participate in adventure opportunities and meetups that highlight what is possible for those with spinal cord injuries, rather than focusing on loss of function. Adventures have included sailing, rock climbing and indoor skydiving.

"I really think it is great for someone with a new spinal cord injury to talk with someone who has 'been there and done that,'" said Kim Curran, RN, BSN, and care manager for our spinal cord injury patient population. "It gives them hope and helps them to see that they are still able to go out and experience the world. It is just going to be a little different than it was before."

In addition to serving as mentors and executives for SPINALpedia, Josh and Kelley continue to advocate for others through their professional careers.

Learn more about Josh and Kelley’s work and SPINALpedia.

Spinalpedia group shot