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Spinal cord injuries

| Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Spinal cord injuries

September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, and there are 1.25 million Americans living with spinal cord injuries — including me.

Due to an unfortunate, sports-related injury at the age of 19, I have been confined to an electric wheelchair ever since. My spinal cord injury changed my life permanently and affected many others close to me.

Sadly, every 48 minutes another person will become paralyzed. This is simply unacceptable.

Unfortunately, federal and private funding for scientific research has been dramatically reduced. We need to bring the devastation paralysis causes to the forefront of public awareness. The public needs to understand how close the scientific community is to developing new therapies that one day will allow us to live without any physical limitations.

Scientists are closer than ever to finding a cure. The FDA has approved the world's only Phase 1 human clinical trial testing a cellular therapy on people with spinal cord injuries. The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is leading this ground-breaking research.

During this month, I hope people will remember the struggles those of us who are paralyzed confront on a daily basis and consider donating to organizations that will allow millions of us to live normal lives again without the limitations resulting from spinal cord injury.

Brian R. Jacob

Lower Burrell

The writer is president/CEO of WESTARM Therapy and Homecare Inc.

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