Eric Kolar Gives Back Through Life after Spinal Cord Injury (LASCI) on Facebook

Editor’s Note: At 15-years-old, Eric Kolar never could have imagined that one night out with his friends would change his life forever.  Today, quadriplegic Eric Kolar manages the Virginia branch office for UroMed, one of the nation’s largest urology supply companies.  Outside of work, he volunteers as a peer counselor for the non-profit program, Life After Spinal Cord Injury.  Eric feels that sharing his story of recovery and success after his SCI is just one way to pay it forward as gratitude to all that helped him find his own path in life.  Part 4 of a 4-part series.

Eric Kolar pays it forward everyday at UroMed as he assists other customers with SCI.

Eric Kolar pays it forward everyday at UroMed as he assists other customers with SCI.

Every 38 minutes, someone in this country suffers a spinal-cord injury. And unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as me and some of my friends when they go through the recovery process. I had a good support system, quality rehab facilities and good resources to learn how to adjust to life in a wheelchair.

We’ve discovered at UroMed that a number of people in wheelchairs don’t know other people in wheelchairs. So, they don’t have anyone to help them adjust to their new lives after SCI. They’re out there trying to fend for themselves, and once you’re in a wheelchair, you have to struggle with feelings that most able-bodied people don’t.

To help people experiencing this, UroMed has a community page on Facebook called LASCI, which stands for Life After Spinal Cord Injury. UroMed understood from working with thousands of people nationwide that a lot of folks had questions about their lives, their bodies, treatments and futures after experiencing a spinal cord injury, and that’s why they expanded their LASCI outreach program to create a community and peer support group using social media. 

The marketing director at UroMed, Lisa Wells, created LASCI on Facebook. Right now, we have from 4,000 to 5,000 subscribers from all over the world who regularly visit the Facebook page to learn about life after a spinal-cord injury. They feel comfortable asking questions and getting answers from other people with spinal-cord injuries. Everyone on LASCI knows what everyone else is going through and how they’re feeling.

11 Alive NBC News in Atlanta recently featured LASCI in a special report on TV. See Eric working with community members in the video below:

I spend a lot of my personal time at night and on weekends volunteering as a peer counselor on the LASCI page, answering questions from people all over the country.  I have the opportunity to speak with recently-injured patients, parents of children with SCI, friends and other family members who are all trying to find ways to offer support and resources to people they love.

There was a recent post on the LASCI page from a lady in Texas who had no resources to get information about any problems or questions she might have about life in a wheelchair. She didn’t know how she was supposed to be feeling, and what feelings were normal or abnormal. She didn’t have anyone to talk to who really understood what her new life was like or answer the questions she had.

When Lisa Wells read her post on LASCI, she called me and asked me to respond as a peer counselor. I asked the lady in Texas to privately message me to take the conversation out of the public view. I learned that she broke her back in an ATV accident, and that she was married with children. She was frightened that her husband might leave her.

She said, “My husband married me when I was a woman who was very active and could walk wherever I wanted to go. Now that same woman is in a wheelchair and has to rely on him.” She didn’t want to feel like a burden to him.

Looking for a fantastic peer support program? Join Life After SCI on Facebook - just click the Facebook link at the top right on this page.

Looking for a fantastic peer support program? Join Life After SCI on Facebook - just click the Facebook link at the top right on this page.

Another aspect of the LASCI outreach program that’s often completely overlooked is the concerns, frustrations and problems that family members have when someone in the family is injured or sick and becomes dependent on a wheelchair. We get a lot of questions from parents of children with spinal-cord injuries. A parent of a newly-injured child doesn’t really know what to do for that child. So, a lot of people on LASCI ask how they can help, and what they need to do to support the family member in a wheelchair.

I feel good after answering questions and attempting to help other people in wheelchairs. Sharing with others and giving advice, encouragement and suggestions also helps me to heal.

LASCI has been active on Facebook for about 8 months. Lisa and Bert Burns, the owner of UroMed who is also a quadriplegic, are the administrators of this Facebook page. If Bert or Lisa don’t know the answer to a question posted on LASCI, they contact me and ask me to answer that question.

On LASCI, you also can find many opportunities of things to do, places to go and ways to help others. A lot of people in wheelchairs don’t even realize that they can drive. There are a number of people in wheelchairs who drive anywhere they want to go, and we often have conversations on the page about questions related to driving, travelling and other events that help you get out and enjoy life.

To join the LASCI Facebook page, you must be a member of Facebook. Visit the main UroMed website at www.uromed.com and click the big F on the home page.  It will take you to Life After Spinal Cord Injury on Facebook and then you can “like” the page.

Meet new friends today on the LASCI facebook page!

Meet new friends today on the LASCI facebook page!

Once you do, you can post anything you want, including videos and questions, and you can see postings from disability companies, magazines strictly for people in wheelchairs and a wealth of information for people with spinal-cord injuries.

Your life changes dramatically after a spinal-cord injury, and we can all help each other move forward each day through the LASCI online community. We talk about our experiences, what we’ve learned, our individual situations and how to solve problems.

Eric has a big heart for anyone he meets, especially kids and friends with SCI.

Eric has a big heart for anyone he meets, especially kids and friends with SCI.

My absolute favorite part of working with LASCI is being able to talk with a community of people in wheelchairs who share victories, problems and experiences. Remember that after an injury, the patient goes to rehab where his or her world is involved with and surrounded by people in wheelchairs just like them. But when they leave rehab, they may not find anyone like them. That’s the bridge created by LASCI — to help you find new friends, support and resources that assist with your new life.

By helping others in wheelchairs, I feel like I’m repaying a debt to the people who helped me understand and learn how to live a life with a spinal-cord injury.  Not only because I can help people just like me, but because these people are
extremely comfortable asking me questions that they might not ask a doctor, coworker or a family member. 

I cannot say enough that as much as people think I’m helping them, really the truth is that all of my new friends in LASCI are helping me feel like I am giving back as well as living my life with a purpose.

I’m so excited about what I’m doing at UroMed and at LASCI that I hope to stay here until I retire. I’m also ready to meet the love of my life, settle-down and have a family. I’m one of the few people in the world who is lucky enough to be able to say that I really enjoy my life and my job.
 
If you’d like to talk with me, please feel free to call 800-841-1233, or email me at ekolar@uromed.com.

LASCI also provides a free monthly newsletter to help you stay informed on news, upcoming events and more resources from them and their sponsoring company, UroMed.  If you’d like to receive our newsletter, please opt in here.

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

4 Responses to Eric Kolar Gives Back Through Life after Spinal Cord Injury (LASCI) on Facebook

  1. Pingback: Two Hard Shots from Mother Nature Couldn’t Knock-Out Eric Kolar « UroMed Catheter Health Blog

  2. Megan says:

    thank you for all your help to others like you. I wish it had not happened.

  3. MrsG says:

    Eric is one of the finest people I have ever met and a constant inspiration to me! So proud of what he has accomplished!

  4. Pingback: Two Hard Shots from Mother Nature Couldn’t Knock-Out Eric Kolar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: