A "fun walk" fundraiser to benefit the Northeast Spinal Cord Injury Fund is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22, in honor of Vince Yackery, a Rowayton resident who suffered a spinal cord injury that rendered him a quadriplegic.
It was around 4 a.m. April 29 when Christina Yackery, 26, woke to the sound of her father's screams.
Vince, a healthy and active 65-year-old who formerly lived in Darien, was looking to start the day with a P90X workout, but he fell and injured his spinal cord.
"Pretty much right away he was saying he was paralyzed," Christina said.
Vince, who sustained a C4 spinal cord injury, spent months in hospitals and undergoing physical therapy before coming home in mid-August.
Christina and her mother, Caroline, found themselves struggling to fight for insurance, which gives the family "little to no help," Christina said.
Christina's other siblings, Alex, 24, and Claire, 20, are living in New York City and at the Univeristy of Connecticut Storrs, respectively.
The family contacted the Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation to learn more about spinal cord injuries and how to approach life moving forward.
The foundation, which is named for a Darien resident who suffered a spinal cord injury swimming 17 years ago, was created to help Connecticut people who have suffered such injuries.
The foundation helped the Yackerys make significant changes around their home, such as installing a ramp and changing a downstairs room into a bedroom for Vince.
Christina has taken on fundraising for her father to help with the costs.Through the Christopher Reeve Spinal Cord Injury Foundation, Christina established a HelpHopeLive website where people are able to donate to the family to offset expensive medical bills. HelpHopeLive is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting those who have sustained a catastrophic injury.
In the first year after a severe spinal cord injury, families can be expected to pay roughly $985,000 in rehabilitation, hospital stays, home modifications and specialized equipment, according to HelpHopeLive. In the following years, families will pay $170,000 or more.
The fun walk will leave from the Rowayton Community Center on Sept. 22. Christina is expecting almost 200 people to attend the event. She chose that date in honor of her parents' wedding anniversary, which is on Sept. 23.
During the fun walk event, there will be a bake sale, silent auctions and T-shirts for sale. The food truck Cowabunga, which serves breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers and other snacks, will be at the beach for the day.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. and registration is $25 per walker.
Christina said the fundraising "has taken a life of its own" and that any donations to offset the family's bills are appreciated.
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