This past weekend, I traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota with the MUSC Longevity After Injury Project to celebrate 40 years of SCI (spinal cord injury) research.
Dr. Jim Krause, who also has a spinal cord injury, is the lead researcher at MUSC. Dr. Krause is from Minnesota and did his Ph.D. work at the University of Minnesota, which is why the event took place in Minneapolis.
The research study began in 1973 and has had 2,179 people participate over the years. This population completes surveys and provides information through focus groups every few years for researchers to track their quality of life, health outcomes and employment status since being injured. Participants range in age from 40-70 years old and have been injured an average of 26 years.
As part of the celebration, a couple focus groups were held and current research data was shared with attendees. We also had a picnic on the banks of the Mississippi River at the Nicolette Island Pavilion. The banquet hall was in a remodeled train station and was spacious. It accommodated nearly seventy wheelchairs and 200 guests. The patio was accessible and had winding sidewalks that led down to the river’s edge.
It was inspirational and exciting to meet everyone and hear about their stories. The members are diverse in age, ethnicity and career fields, yet they all have positive, charismatic attitudes! We captured the event in photos and videos, and I will share them on my blog as soon as they are available. As I met with people, they all shared words of wisdom for the next generation of SCI survivors, which is to never give up!
Editor’s note: I will post a second blog about the logistics of flying to and from Minnesota later this week.