CUMBERLAND – A Cumberland woman who sustained a paralyzing spinal cord injury six years ago is using her abilities to help deal with her Disability.
Jyl and Donnie Waters founded the Spinal Cord Organization for Research and Enrichment following Jyl’s 2002 fall from a forklift. The Iowa-based organization recently donated $20,000 to the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md.
Jyl Waters received treatment there and wanted to support the center’s promising and innovative research. Dr. John McDonald, the center’s director and Waters’ lead physician, was also one of the late Christopher Reeves’ doctors.
Waters’ brother, Brooke Turner, met McDonald on a fundraising horse ride from Iowa to Nashville several years ago. The entertainer, poet and songwriter made the 700-mile trip performing a song he wrote for Waters and raising money for S.C.O.R.E.
He introduced his sister to the doctor, and she pursued ICSCI’s advanced restorative therapies treatment approach. Now she is helping fund the center’s research.
“(Dr. McDonald) wants to cure long-term paralysis,” Waters said. “I have full confidence in him.”
The $20,000 will be used to support stem cell and Regeneration research, specifically applying the donation to primate studies under way in the nation of Columbia, Waters said.
“ICSCI is extremely honored to accept S.C.O.R.E.’s generous $20,000 donation, which is a testament to the dedication and determination of Jyl, Brooke and all those involved with S.C.O.R.E.,” said McDonald.
“Jyl and her family are a true inspiration to everyone facing spinal cord injuries. This contribution will have an immediate impact on our research as we continue to explore breakthrough treatment methods for spinal cord injury patients.”
The annual ride to Nashville has grown into numerous walks and rides with auctions, raffles, dances, concerts, wheelchair basketball competitions, motorcycle poker runs, T-shirt sales and other fundraising events.
S.C.O.R.E. also reaches out to newly injured patients and their families to provide support and offer guidance on how to cope with these life-changing injuries.
“Through this true community effort, we are able to raise funds that will contribute to the cutting-edge research conducted at ICSCI,” said Waters. “Science holds the key to a cure, and we want to do everything in our power to advance research and treatment.”
She said she continues her efforts to raise money and raise awareness, trying to assist other paraplegics and quadriplegics.
She explained, “It is important to try and be a beacon to help others – to try and give people as many abilities as we can.”
TOM MCMAHON , Staff Writer