Being a teenage girl is difficult. Being a teenage girl with a spinal cord injury is even tougher.
Just going to the mall with your girlfriends to try on cute clothes can be a logistical nightmare for a young girl confined to a wheelchair.
Jessica Greenfield knows this firsthand. The Indiana teenager suffered a spinal cord injury after a diving accident. She gets Rehabilitation therapy at Shriners Hospital in Chicago, which provides free treatment to children with spinal cord injuries and other conditions.
Last year, Jessica mentioned to Shriners’ staff member Kally Schneider that it would be great if the female spinal cord patients could have a spa day — a chance to get dressed up, pampered and just be girly-girls.
“We didn’t have a budget for it,” Schneider said. “So I opened the phone book and started making calls.”
Schneider and another staff member worked every connection they had to pull together a three-day Chicago package for six teens with spinal cord injuries.
Trio Salon in Wicker Park offered to do the girls’ hair. The young ladies went on a shopping spree at Akira boutique. They saw “Wicked” and dined at Petterino’s and Tavern on Rush. Personal trainers from Athletico worked with them on fitness.
Schneider called her college roommate’s mother, a cosmetics executive, who lined up Clinique makeovers for the girls. They each got goodie bags filled with more than $300 worth of Clinique makeup. The woman even paid out of pocket so the girls could stay downtown in handicap-accessible rooms at Homewood Suites.
“This really let the girls be girls,” Schneider said. She hopes to put on another girls’ weekend this summer for more teens with spinal cord problems. If you want to help with a donation, call Schneider at (773) 385-5846.
BY LORI RACKL
Staff Reporter, Sun-Times News