On June 17, 2000 Dana Guest’s life was forever changed when she was involved in a car accident and sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury. The then 17 year old was rendered a quadriplegic and the challenges of life after a catastrophic injury became her reality.
Soon after the injury, Guest and her family realized how difficult it was to have all of their questions answered. Medical providers didn’t want to give false hope, case workers were overloaded and government resources were scarce.
“Sadly, we aren’t the only ones who have been through this. Throughout this eleven year journey, I have met many families who face the same issues,” said Guest.
So many, in fact, her mother suggested that someone should create a handbook for those who have survived a catastrophic injury. This simple suggestion stayed with Guest as she went on to graduate college, built an accessible home and gave birth to a daughter. Eventually realizing there was a need still not being fulfilled, Guest formed what is now known as the Injury Cooperative in 2010.
Located in Central Florida, the Injury Cooperative is dedicated to providing education, support and hope to injury survivors and their families. The Injury Co-Op’s website is a rich source of relevant information about traumatic spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, amputations, and major burns. It is regularly updated with blogs, educational videos, links to useful resources and the latest news. The website also has helpful information concerning government assistance programs, private foundation aid and legal options.
Along with this new web resource, the Injury Cooperative operates the Co-Op Cares Program. This program distributes Care Bags to local families of those who have sustained a traumatic injury. All of the Care Bags have a warm fleece blanket for those cold hospital waiting rooms, a Recovery Handbook to help families organize their lives to better facilitate the recovery process and other small, useful items. The Co-Op Cares program can also help families in Central Florida locate resources, set up a social support network, and provide mentorship.
“I created the Injury Co-op with a vision of keeping fellow survivors and their families from going through what I had to experience,” said Guest. “Most importantly, I want them to know they aren’t alone and someone is willing to truly listen and help.” And, Guest works relentlessly to make her vision a reality. For more information about the Injury Cooperative, please visit www.theinjuryco-op.com or call 855-INJ-COOP.
By: Ashley Morlote