Owen's Story of H.O.P.E.


15 Years of Limited to No Progress

Owen has always been kind, ambitious, and a dreamer. As a child growing up in New York, he dreamt of running his own auto repair shop. His sister recalls that he was always a tinkerer and a natural entrepreneur. She wasn’t surprised when Owen, at the age of 16, founded his own auto repair shop while still in high school. He was looking forward to graduating so he could run his shop full-time. 

However, just days before Owen was set to graduate, one event would change everything for him and his family. While driving his Harley Davison to his girlfriend’s house one afternoon, he was hit in a tragic hit-and-run accident. An unknown person drove a heavy vehicle right over Owen when paused at a stop sign. The event caused massive trauma to Owen’s brain and body, leaving him in a coma for over 2 years. His friends and classmates walked across the graduation stage without Owen. He never received his high school diploma. 

Recovering at the Hospital, Moving Back Home

Owen spent about 4 years in and out of comas, and another 4 years at the New York City Rehabilitation Hospital. His mother, a Kindergarten teacher, would visit him after school. His father, a small business owner, would visit in the mornings. His six older siblings visited Owen whenever they could. 

Nearly 10 years after his accident, Owen was finally able to move back home. Owen’s sister and her young family became his caretakers, along with a full-time professional aide.

15 Years of Limited to No Progress

15

years of the same

30-60

minutes of therapy each week

NO PROGRESS

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EARLY DISCHARGE

Less Movement

Poorer & Poorer Health

Like many people with severe physical injuries, Owen qualified every year for one or two 30 minute physical therapy sessions each week through Medicaid. This wasn’t enough time for Owen, so he didn’t make much progress. Every year, he was discharged early from the program. As a result, Owen moved less and less every day. His health began to decline.

Finding MovingwithH.O.P.E.

Owen came to M.W.H. in 2015 through his Medicaid Case Manager, who wanted Owen to widen his scope of services and to make him more active after little or no improvement from traditional physical therapies.

On his first visit for M.W.H. Owen was joined by caregivers, including his sister, his niece, and his full-time professional aid. The staff and providers welcomed them all into the facility. They were given a tour and met other clients and caregivers.

Starting Activity-Based Restorative Therapy

In the beginning, ABRT was very challenging for Owen. He was unable to stand or bear any weight on his legs. He was also unable to maintain appropriate posture of his trunk and pelvic region. With the help of several staff members, he was able to walk 60 feet in 56 seconds and 90 feet in 83 seconds. His 6 minute walking distance was and 275 feet.

The staff at M.W.H. were supportive and kept working with Owen. Since the M.W.H. was close, accessible, and had all the right equipment, he easily included exercise in his routine. He came 10 to 12 hours each week. He took the time he needed to recover in between sets. During breaks, Owen could socialize, rest, and even take a shower. 

Getting Stronger

Today, Owen still comes 10 to 12 hours each week, but the intensity of his therapies has increased.

He is now able to initiate weight-bearing on his legs. He can raise his body off of a surface. He is also able to lower his trunk in a controlled manner. Owen can also raise his trunk off a mat to assume a sitting position with a slight use of his arms.

Now, with only the assistance of one staff member and a walker, Owen is able to walk 60 feet in 33 seconds and 90 feet in 48 seconds, both an over 40% improvement. He has also seen a 97% improvement in his 6 minute walking time, and is now able to now walk 542 feet.

Before MovingwithH.O.P.E.

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With MovingwithH.O.P.E.

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Not Done Yet

Owen considers M.W.H.―with its team of professionals, community leaders and members, advocates, and mentors―to be his second home. He says “All the staff are good people, and work their hardest to help me have a better life,” says Owen. He hopes that more places like M.W.H. open soon, so more people can be helped.

Recently, Owen started to use M.W.H.’s cognitive programs and advanced speech/reading software to reconnect with old friends and family on Facebook! His auto repair shop, which his cousins now manage, continues to thrive.

“All the staff are good people, and work their hardest to help me have a better life.”
Owen