Dawn and Andy Bricker are committed to providing the optimal opportunity for the clients of “Race to Walk” to reach their full potential. Through the support of many, they are excited to offer the first exercise-based facility in the Southeast specifically for individuals suffering from paralysis. As a C5/6 quadriplegic, Dawn knows firsthand the importance and the possibilities when applying oneself to a full body program.
On June 4, 2006, Dawn’s world would be forever changed. The pontoon boat she and her husband were riding in collided with another pontoon, leaving her paralyzed, initially from the neck down. She had broken her neck at C5 and ruptured the discs from C4-C6. The doctors who evaluated her did not expect much improvement. As a mother of two children and a substitute teacher, Dawn had always been on the giving side. Now she was left to rely totally on the support of others.
Dawn spent seven weeks in the hospital/rehabilitation center beginning her recovery process. Since that time, Dawn and Andy have been pursuing a rigorous course of therapies aimed at recovery. Six months after the accident, Dawn discovered the benefits of intense exercise therapy. Unfortunately, there were no facilities in the southeast, and moving across country with two teenage children, was not a viable option. The only viable option was to try and implement a program in their home, working with both a physical therapist and a personal trainer.
When Dawn came home from the hospital she was in a power wheelchair with lateral supports and a headrest. Working out three days per week, Dawn has gained enough strength to use a manual wheelchair with no supports. Two years post injury, her progress has been slow, but steady, with measurable weekly improvements. She has regained touch sensation to her toes, greatly improved her core and upper body strength, and now has the ability to initiate her major muscles in her lower extremities.
As Dawn improved, the need for more space and equipment became a necessity. The decision to found “Race to Walk” was based on Dawn and Andy’s devotion to pursuing the full benefits of exercise-based therapy, and the desire to assist others in the community. They believe the injury and the trials they have been through happened for a reason. It is their hope that they can benefit others, as they too pursue their own quest for recovery. It is their goal that not only will the foundation become a place for individuals to reach their potential, but that it also provides a place of community for all affected by living life with paralysis.