By Dillon Thomas
THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4)– Tuesday, Dec. 5 is Colorado Gives Day, an annual event which calls for Coloradans to come together to support local nonprofits.
One organization seeking the public’s assistance is the SCI Recovery Project. The Thornton-based nonprofit provides holistic therapeutic opportunities at a low fee, to those with stroke-related injuries, or paralysis.
With the assistance of donations, and private funding, SCI assists their patients at a $70 per hour rate, which they claim is one of the lowest rates in the nation.
CJ Powell, the organization’s interim executive director, said SCI takes a different approach to therapy and progression.
“(Typical therapy outlets) feel like you are in a hospital, it doesn’t feel normal,” Powell said. “You come here, and it’s more of a fitness gym.”
Powell would know how to compare facilities. After a dirt bike accident, Powell was paralyzed. Today, he works at SCI with the assistance of a wheelchair.
“The quality of the one-on-one sessions with the trainer’s (at SCI) was incredible,” Powell said, explaining why he joined the team.
The facility provided several patients with cheap outlets to acupuncture, massages, and other services. SCI also provides personal therapy trainers, who build workouts specifically for each individual.
The facility was perfect for Les Borsheim.
“I had no idea about (paralysis services),” Borsheim said. “Before my injury, I had never thought of it.”
Borsheim was a star athlete for the Colorado Eagles in Loveland. His career was cut short, when he was in a motorcycle crash in 2008.
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Borsheim was paralyzed.
“(An injury) happens, and you’re made aware of all the impacts on life it makes. It all changes. You never think about it until it affects you,” Borsheim said.
After months of treatment elsewhere, Borsheim found SCI.
“It replaced hockey for me, for a bit. Having that outlet to go be physical, and get away for two or three hours,” Borsheim said.
Those who frequent the Gym said sharing time with those who can relate, was almost as therapeutic as the workouts themselves.
However, in order to continue providing therapy at such a low rate, SCI hoped Colorado Gives Day would help their mission.
Borsheim said donating to SCI could impact someone everyone knows, as paralysis and stroke reaches a broad community.
“It affects a lot of people. More than you would think,” Borsheim said.
Those who have used the services of the nonprofit said they can attest to the benefits, and encourage others to consider helping their cause.
“(SCI) enabled me to get back on the dirt bike, and start swimming, doing things that a normal able bodied person can do,” Powell said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.