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Giving: A gift of freedom for Jordan

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Jordan McKenzie, 12, tries out his NuStep T4r exercise machine. | Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Jordan McKenzie, 12, tries out his NuStep T4r exercise machine. | Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Jordan McKenzie, 12, has cerebral palsy and every day is a battle against the disease for him and his parents, Marc and Sandra. Their lives became even more difficult in May when Jordan had to have complete spinal fusion surgery because of severe scoliosis. After the surgery he had to relearn many basic activities, even how to sit up again.

His recovery began with rehabilitation and physical therapy, but it’s complicated because Jordan may or may not feel up to exercise on the scheduled rehab day.

So, on Dec. 19, NuStep and NuStep Community Involvement stepped in to present the McKenzies with an in-home NuStep T4r, an exercise machine designed to improve muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and mobility.

NCI, an employee-managed charitable organization, covered half the costs of the T4r. The rest of the money came from about 100 NuStep employees who held fundraisers throughout the year, including a breakfast, potluck lunch, bottle/can drive and silent auction.

This was the second consecutive year that NCI and NuStep employees have given a gift to a local resident in need. Last year’s recipient, Stacie Spadafore, had a brain aneurysm just five days after the birth of her son and was given very little hope of ever walking again. Through a year of hard work, including workouts on her in-home T4r, she attended the Dec. 19 event with her husband and two small children with just the aid of a cane.

Steve Law, Jordan’s uncle, spoke for the NCI team at the presentation, saying, “Like we have with Stacie, we look forward to following Jordan’s progress.”

Beyond the many benefits Jordan will get from his new machine, his mother is most happy about giving Jordan a new feeling of freedom. “He’ll never be able to ride a bike,” she said, “but the NuStep will give him the opportunity to get the experience of bike riding. If it’s in our control, we want to make it as happy and wonderful as we can. It’s about quality of life.”

Applicants must complete a brief questionnaire which is then scored by outside judges. The resulting scores determine the recipient.

The December issue of The Ann focused on giving and we continue the theme here with the first article in a series dedicated to people and organizations that, through their generosity, help make this a stronger and better community.

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