Chicago — Damien Winiarski has been employed in the plumbing industry since August 2005. He started off as a plumber’s assistant and worked for plumbing contractors on the Northwest side of Chicago. On July 28, 2012, Winiarski was involved in a motor vehicle accident, which left him paralyzed at the T 12 level.

A T 12 spinal-cord injury leaves one paralyzed in the legs and lower body. Winiarski is undergoing rehabilitation therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).

One of Winiarski’s rehab physicians at RIC wrote a letter on his behalf seeking exercise/rehab equipment to help him build upper body strength and eventually return to work. Winiarski’s relatives found the Joseph Groh Foundation through information on the Christopher and Dana Reeve website. They requested a standing frame machine, which counterbalances many of the negative effects from constantly sitting. Clinical experience suggests that wheelchair users often experience painful, problematic, and costly secondary complications due to long-term sitting.

Due to donations made to the Joseph Groh foundation, the foundation was able to grant Winiarski’s equipment request.

Publication date: 1/21/2013