Celebrate Wedding Wednesdays with LASCI!

Emily Sciarretta shared this picture, saying "My husband and I and our 2 service dogs in October 2013!"

Emily Sciarretta shared this picture, saying “My husband and I and our 2 service dogs in October 2013!”

As the LASCI roadshow travels the country, with Bert Burns speaking to spinal cord injury peer support groups at hospitals nationwide, a common thread always emerges in the questions we receive from participants at our events.

“Will I ever get married?”
“Can I have kids?”
“Am I going to be alone after my injury?”

Understandably, with all the changes in your body after a spinal cord injury, it’s normal to wonder or even doubt that your personal relationships can flourish in life after SCI. Rest assured, they can, and they will!

But don’t take our word for it. A wide variety of friends with spinal cord injury who are part of LASCI online have graciously shared their own pictures and stories of life and love after SCI, and we’ve put some of them together in the gallery below.

Join us for Wedding Wednesdays on LASCI as we share these pictures every week on our Facebook page!

The personal photos are meant to inspire and encourage friends who are adjusting to life after spinal cord injury.  It’s a new life, yes, but this life is full of love, family and lifelong relationships.  We hope you enjoy this new series!

Have a picture and story you’d like to share for Wedding Wednesdays?  Contact us here.

lascilogoAbout LASCI’s Motivational Programs

Entreprenuer, Clinician, Paralympian, Father of Twins:  Bert Burns had no idea that all of these roles awaited him after his spinal cord injury. His path to success started with just one person, a recreation therapist at Bert’s rehab hospital who approached him to talk about wheelchair sports.

Bert initially showed little interest, but the therapist wouldn’t give up. Bert decided to give it a try, never knowing the dramatic, positive impact that wheelchair sports would have on his life.

Years later, Bert founded UroMed, Inc., a urological supply company that he hoped would make a difference to people with disabilities.

He met his wife, Joy, in 1995. “Having Joy and our twins, William and Emma, makes me the luckiest guy in the world,” he says. “I truly have an amazing life.”


Bert Burns with his wife Joy, daughter Emma and son Will.

Through LASCI, Bert Burns devotes considerable time as a motivational speaker for children with disabilities, rehabilitation programs, medical education seminars and other community events.

Bert explains his reason for reaching out is, “I hope to convince patients in wheelchairs that they can still do all the things they want to do and more. They will just have to do them differently.”  Bert is a C6-7 quadriplegic himself. He was paralyzed in his 20s when a drunk driver hit his vehicle.

Learn more about LASCI here.
If you’d like to invite Bert Burns to speak at your upcoming event, please contact us.

Ryan Gebauer Paves the Way for Others in Need

Ryan’s actions have paved the way for others in need.

Editor’s Note: Because Ryan Gebauer talked to politicians and explained his situation and his hope for the future, he learned there was a pilot program being started in Florida to solve the problem of young people to still receive the care they needed when they turned 21, rather than having to be institutionalized. The State of Florida picked 300 people to this test program, and Ryan was fortunate enough to be selected. Part 5 of a 5 part series. 

When the program was first started, the government didn’t know if taking care of young people’s medical expenses after they turned 21 would be an effective, financially sound program. Ultimately the program proved that by allowing spinal cord and brain injured people to continue their lives in the community and meet their needs, the cost was far less expensive than having them institutionalized. The program found that keeping individuals involved and active in the community meant healthier individuals who spent less time in the hospital. The plan is called Florida Department of Health’s Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program and subsidizes individuals whose insurance has run out or who will receive fewer benefits when they turn 21. Through this process, Ryan realized there were other people out there who were like him. “As I got involved politically, I found that there were many other people just like me, having the same problems as me,” Ryan reports. “I started meeting with them and telling them how to take care of their situations, like I had learned to take care of mine. Many of the people I met were able to get on the same program with me.”

Through all that Ryan had learned from his letter-writing campaigns and his meeting with politicians, he decided he wanted to get into politics and help make changes for people with disabilities. He, also, began to focus his attention on business and decided a law degree would be very helpful. When Ryan left the community college and went to a 4-year college, he changed his major from political science to criminal justice. Because, he had so-many credits in political science and criminal justice, he had enough credits for a double major. He decided he needed to take some business courses and also got a minor in business. No longer a young man, who could care less about going to college, Ryan became an avid student.  He applied to a law school that would allow him to get degrees in both law and business administration. However, he wasn’t accepted at that school. While he was at Florida Atlantic University, he went ahead and got a graduate degree, completing his MBA, master’s in business administration, in 2008. While in college, he volunteered for numbers of governmental committees, including one for a county committee appointed by the same state senator, Stacy Ritter, who had helped him keep his benefits. She became a county commissioner and headed up a consumer-protection committee for the citizens of Broward County. “One aspect of this committee was to be sure the residents weren’t being taken advantage of by taxi cab and limousine drivers,” Ryan  reports. “To hold a county chauffeur’s license (a license that someone had to have to drive a taxi cab or limousine) the taxi cab drivers and the limousine drivers couldn’t have bad driving records or criminal records. If an individual was turned-down for his chauffeur’s license, he or she could appeal his case to the board on which I served. Then that person didn’t have to hire an attorney or go through a court proceeding to either get his license or renew it. Ninety-five percent of the time, if these people had horrible criminal or driving records, we denied their requests for the chauffeur’s licenses and sent them to traffic school. I served on that board for 3 years. Then, one day I was talking to a friend of mine, and he suggested I start my own traffic school online.”

Ryan Gebauer enjoys life!

In 2011, he  resigned from the board he was serving on and started an online-traffic school.  If someone gets a speeding ticket, instead of having to attend traffic school to keep from having points added to a driving license or having an increase in insurance costs, according to Ryan, “Now, instead of having to go to a brick-and-mortar traffic school, that person can take the course I’ve set-up at my online-traffic school. Since I have a home office, I can cut the cost of traffic school. A person has the option of doing the course all at one time or can take a couple of hours a week to complete the course. When someone finishes the traffic school, he receives a certificate. The court where the traffic violation has been tried is notified that he successfully has completed the course. Then the student notifies his insurance company that he has completed the course, so the insurance company won’t raise his insurance premiums. We also offer an online course for young people, who want to apply for their drivers’ permits, before they receive their drivers’ licenses, here in Florida. A student, at age 15, has to take a drug and alcohol course, before he or she can apply for the permit. He has to take the drug and alcohol test online, first, and then can apply for a driving permit online, which allows the young person to drive with his parents or someone 21-years-old or older. Then he can apply for a driver’s license. These online courses are convenient and less costly than having to take them at a brick-and-mortar establishment. As a price comparison, a person has to pay $40 or $50 to take a chauffeur’s license test. But to take that same course, if they complete it in a certain amount of time, they only pay $14.95 for the online course.”

Right now, vocation rehabilitation is helping Ryan to advertise and promote his business and working to help him build his business, which is growing slowly. But, there is a tremendous potential for growth. Seeing how successful Ryan has been in solving problems, working with politicians, overcoming many handicaps and preparing himself to run his own business, we feel certain that he will continue to change, not only, his world, but the world around him.

To learn more about  Ryan Gebauer and ways he’s working for the community, go to www.rollingryan.com.


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