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February 2015 E-News

Welcome to the Mount Sinai E-News

We hoped that you enjoyed last month's Mount Sinai E-News. In this issue find out about our latest Life Challenge Adventure, the New York State and Neilsen Foundation Grants that Mount Sinai received as well as NYC Spinal's upcoming Mardi Gras Fundraiser.

For comments or story ideas please contact Jim Cesario.
Mount Sinai
Goes Skiing
On January 9th-11th the Mount Sinai Life Challenge Team headed points north to Pico Mountain for a winter weekend of self discovery and adventure. The action began Friday evening at the Rutland Vermont Holiday Inn with our Annual Karaoke Contest. On Saturday we drove 20 minutes north to Pico Mountain. Challenge participates were paired with adaptive ski instructors and headed to the chair lifts for a ride up to the top of the mountain for a day of skiing. That evening back at the hotel our participants attended the awards banquet followed by dancing and frolicking in the Centre Lounge. On Sunday we had breakfast, said our good-byes and headed home with memories that we would share with friends and family.
New York State Grant
SCI Empower Program
Hello my name is Farzana Z Ali and I have a C5-6 SCI. Do you remember those days following your spinal cord injury when you were in an acute rehab facility? I was fortunate enough to be in the inpatient rehab unit at the Mount Sinai Hospital, with its cutting-edge facilities and compassionate members of the interdisciplinary team. However, I sometimes regretted not being able to push my fragile body, right after my traumatic injury, to work harder and take full advantage of the wonderful services surrounding me. After many months of institutionalized living, transitioning to the community felt like a great accomplishment, but it also shifted all the responsibilities involving my care to my own hands. Numerous complicated insurance policies soon led to the discontinuation of my outpatient therapy. Despite the comfort and independence in my home, I often longed for a second chance at that high-quality rehab I received at a time when my mind and body were not as strong as they are now.
This is where the Empower Spinal Cord Injury Program came in, by offering a second chance at rehabilitation when my body was properly healed and more prepared. But to me, it did not feel like a formal rehabilitation program, rather I found a new family away from my home. I met people who I could connect with at a human level, people who did not see me just as a patient, as a broken person who needs to be fixed, but a human being with the potential for a fulfilling life.
At Empower, we had regular therapy sessions with our Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Rehabilitation Counselor, Massage Therapist, and other care providers during the week. We went out into the community, the YMCA pool in Patchogue for swimming, the Setauket Harbor for kayaking, and many other places in Long Island, for challenging activities. The team members tried to accommodate the participants with equipment and devices, depending on individual disabilities, so that we could actively participate in those activities. All of the members of this program were so kind and competent that I could really trust them with my care. I could share my fears and limitations with them without hesitation. 

This 2-week residential rehab program will run this summer during July 12th - 25th at Stony Brook University on Long Island. If you are interested in the program, go to: where you can apply. There are only 12 participant slots. The National Spinal Cord Injury Association - Greater New York Chapter  (NYCSCIA) provides two scholarships every year for its state residents to participate in the Empower program. To learn more about the chapter's activities and grants, please visit:,
Craig H Neilsen Grant
Mount Sinai has been awarded a Quality of Life Grant from the Craig H Neilsen Foundation. The grant will examine adaptive technology solutions for accessibility modifications in the home and workplace. The funds will be used to develop a virtual toolbox to support home and workplace accessibility evaluations. By utilizing an accurate, guided, and specially tailored mobile app; individuals will be able to easily and accurately measure the pertinent aspects of their desired environment and be provided with information and options on how to best proceed with desired modifications.
Mardi Gras
Go to to purchase tickets on line
Life Challenge Upcoming Events
Swimming Lessons-54th Street Recreation Center-April 15 to May 2

Combat Laser Tag-Long Island City– April 17

Sky Dive-New Paltz, N.Y.-June 11

Team Challenge –TBA (A Weekend of Self Discovery and Adventure)
For info or to reserve a spot, contact Jim Cesario.
Follow Life Challenge on Facebook

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Mount Sinai Dept. Rehab. Medicine, 3 East 101st Street, New York, NY 10029, 212.824.8369

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