Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Letter from a Friend...

This is a letter sent to us recently from one of Danny's friends.

In May 2011 my friend made a courageous choice. He chose without thought to protect his sister from her attacker. This choice changed his life forever.

His act of heroism continues on almost 5 years after his brave choice. I have never met a person of such valor. Now that his sister is safe he continues to fight for his own recovery with a vengeance I have never seen.

Initially Danny was very dependent on his family for his physical and emotional wellbeing. He was only able to speak one to two word phrases, walked with a significant limp, with his arm bent in at the elbow due to his hemiplegia.

Danny’s entire family continue to provide him with an amazing support system. His Mom is constantly researching the latest treatment of TBI and was an amazing force behind Danny getting his invaluable service dog, hyper baric treatment, and ongoing cognitive and speech rehabilitation. She also is his health care advocate. His dad is his friend and will take him anywhere he needs to go. Danny’s brothers and sister are always there for him.

A lot of Danny’s strength comes from the person he will always be.  The person who did not think twice about putting his life on the line for the life of another human being. He is now living independently. He has support from his family and his trusty service dog. He could have easily given up on himself through this process. He gets on the computer and works on his speech and language skills daily. He readily shares his opinions, and his amazing love of life, his witty sense of humor. He brightens the days of all he comes in contact with.

He takes amazing care of and has unconditional love for his service dog.

He walks daily. I am not sure how far, but I know he is out for up to 2.5 hours at a time. He is currently training to walk the Flying Pig full marathon. He is really working hard in therapy and with a trainer to try and run again. He does not give up.

Danny was an avid drummer prior to his injury. He is now able to hold an adapted drum stick and is playing again with his right hand. He is also beginning to have motor control to write again with use of adapted writing utensils.  

As described in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 2013 7:887 Published online 2013, Dec 24: (Nudo, 2013), the injured brain is very plastic. Brain recovery occurs with repetition and practice of meaningful motor experiences. Danny is the epitome of neuroplasticity. He is excited by challenge and continues to improve his abilities in all areas of his life. He has also taken a great deal of responsibility for his recovery and continues to take full advantage of all resources he has access to. 

For Danny there are no limits on his recovery because he refuses to set them!!!

Danny I am so blessed to know you.