This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with leading professionals. In this series of blogs, I have an exclusive interview with Teresa Hennig. Teresa is an international authority on MS Access, a top user group leader, a best selling author and a recognized and profiled MVP.
Life Beyond Access and IT - A Passion for Spinal Cord Research
Stephen: You are passionate about supporting spinal cord research. Can you provide your insights behind this and what you hope to achieve for the future?
Teresa: My brother, Kirk, has suffered from quadriplegia since his injury 23 years ago. He, like so many, was in the prime of life, and in a freak construction accident, lost most of his mobility. But he is fiercely independent and lives his life to be a contributor to society. He returned to college and earned another degree, this time in construction management. He held various jobs and was a consultant, but more importantly, Kirk helps others who are suffering from injuries. He led the way to establish a mentoring program to support the newly injured and their loved ones, he is on several medical boards and he devotes a lot of his time to helping others learn skills and become independent.
Kirk is also a pillar in the Northwest chapter of the Spinal Cord Society (SCS) http://www.scsnw.com. He is active in their annual golf tournament which raises about $100,000 annually. This is a totally volunteer chapter, and 100% of the proceeds go to research, not overhead. Kirk believes that SCS is the best foundation for supporting research to cure paralysis. They are focused on CURE not care. SCS is exclusively donation-funded (no tax dollars), has extremely low overhead, and is not burdened by large administrative controls or reporting demands or organizational protocols - all of which demand so much time from researchers in large institutions and/or with government funding.
The statistics vary, but nearly one in six people in industrialized countries will suffer from a severe neurological disorder. SCS research is making great strides in helping so many people. We are seeing people who have been wheelchair bound for years gaining the ability to walk, we are helping people with Parkinsonism and so many other diseases.
I dedicated my fundraising effort to my brother. At his suggestion, I rode 220 miles, 10 miles for each year that he had been in a wheel chair, to raise $10,000 for research to cure paralysis. I still have a couple thousand to raise before our annual golf tournament on June 18th. So, any and all help is appreciated. More information about my ride and fundraiser is available at http://www.DataDynamicsNW.com/ride. And, since donations are tax deductible, the site also has the necessary receipt form. Yes, that is a plea for donations, but SCS research is helping countless thousands of people and, given the statistics it is likely that each of us have loved ones and friends that will directly benefit from SCS research. So, thank you for asking.
Stephen: You mentioned the golf tournament, is that where Kirk will be giving the cheque to the Spinal Cord Society? How can people join you?
Teresa: Yes, this will be our 12th annual golf tournament. It is my goal that Kirk will present SCS with a cheque for $10,000. As a chapter, we hope to raise $100,000 through the golf tournament and general donations. Even the smallest donation helps because it all adds up and will make a big difference. That's illustrated by our chapter. We are a small chapter of volunteers, and we've managed to send over $1.1 million to research a cure for paralysis.
Anyone wanting to join us can register online at http://www.SCSNW.com. This has earned acclaim as one of the best golf tournaments on the west coast, and even includes a $50,000 JetBlue Challenge. There is something for all skill levels, and non-golfers have a great time at the dinner and auctions. If they also send me a note (Teresa@DataDyamicsNW.com), I would be pleased to help with local information and to meet with them at the tournament. Of course, it would also be wonderful for people to donate items to our silent or live auction.
Look for more with Teresa in the next blog.
I also encourage you to share your thoughts here on these interviews or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.