21 Photographers + 21 People with Spinal Cord Injury = 21 Photo Stories about ABILITY
The NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HEALTH + MEDICINE CHICAGO, with KEEPSAYK LLC, a pioneering Chicago Tech Startup, and BACKBONES, a nonprofit providing support for people with spinal cord injuries, announce the online debut of an innovative collaborative awareness project, Reinventing the Wheel: Stories of Life After Spinal Cord Injury, in recognition of ADA25, the 25 anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It wasn’t that long ago that Dan Thomas thought he had it all.
After years of hard work – he bought his first dump truck at 18, and had worked in the truck and excavating industry for nearly 30 years – the Newton resident, then 45, had a wife, a business and a house he’d paid off.
Then, in 2002 while driving home along 32 Avenue late one winter night, Thomas hit a patch of black ice, and rolled his truck into a tree.
His injuries – which he says included crushed lungs and two vertebrae in his back “basically disintegrating” – left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The dreams always return in October, just before the anniversary.
They’re vivid. They’re graphic.
They’re always the same.
Steve Klemz is 17 again. He’s playing football. He’s playing hockey.
He’s running free. And then he’s not.
“What happens is when I run down the football field, my legs turn to rubber,” Klemz said. “If I jump over the boards and start skating, my legs turn to rubber.