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Sharp Health News

Helping make home more accessible

Sept. 2, 2021

Helping make home more accessible

Joe Amburn loves to sit on his newly reconstructed deck, funded in part by the Sharp HealthCare Foundation HeadNorth fund for rehabilitation patients.

Joe Amburn is sitting on his newly reconstructed deck in City Heights, enjoying the sunset with his family. After sustaining a spinal cord injury in a fall more than 15 years ago, he never thought he’d be able to enjoy sunshine from his backyard again until Sharp HealthCare Foundation’s HeadNorth Fund stepped in to assist.

The fund provides financial assistance to people with spinal cord injuries so they can purchase assistive devices, necessary equipment and services to increase mobility and enhance quality of life.

Each year, more than 100 San Diegans sustain a life-altering spinal cord injury — changing their lives and the lives of their loved ones forever. Expenses in the first year following injury can exceed $250,000 for people with paraplegia and $450,000 for people with quadriplegia.

Turning adversity into advocacy
Many spinal cord injury survivors desire to return to work and participate in the same activities they once enjoyed. No one knows this better than Eric Northbrook. After a January 2006 motorcycle accident left him paralyzed, Eric wasted little time turning his personal story into an opportunity to help others.

One month later, while still undergoing his own recovery and rehabilitation, Eric established the HeadNorth Foundation to provide financial assistance to San Diegans facing the same situation. In order to help more people, he joined forces with Sharp HealthCare in 2016 and established the Sharp HealthCare Foundation HeadNorth Fund.

“The HeadNorth Fund offers help and hope to those individuals and their families as they face the daily challenges of living with a spinal cord injury,” says Northbrook.

Sharp team members help connect patients with scholarships
Requests can be for equipment and services, such as wheelchairs, exercise gear, computers, and car and home modifications. Grants are provided to San Diegans overcoming a traumatic spinal cord injury with demonstrated financial need. Since its inception, the HeadNorth Fund has awarded nearly $146,000 in grants to 42 people with spinal cord injuries.

Joe learned about the program through Richard Green, his social worker at the Sharp Allison deRose Rehabilitation Center, who encouraged him to apply for a scholarship.

“The ability to sit out on my deck and feel the sunshine on my face means the world to me,” he says. “I’m very appreciative to the HeadNorth Fund for making it happen.”

The HeadNorth Fund at Sharp HealthCare Foundation is a grant-funded program. If you are interested in supporting this fund or learning more, visit the Foundation website or call Richard Green at 858-939-3156.

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