Selected Community Events
Ms. Natasha Schuh of Ellsworth, WI named 2012 American Rehabilitation Champion
Nov 17, 2012 9:30 am at The Atlanta World Conference Convention Center
ROSEMONT, IL … At age 16, Ms. Natascha Schuh of Ellsworth, WI took her last step, falling through a trap door on her high school auditorium stage. She sustained a cervical spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the neck down. Like most teenagers in a similar situation, her initial reaction was: “I don’t want this to be my life!”
Treating physiatrist Dr. Mark Christopherson of the Mayo Clinic nominated Ms. Schuh for the Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation’s 2012 American Rehabilitation Champion Award. The Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an individual to overcome disability and make vital contributions to the community.
Through her courage, determination and perseverance, and with the help of her physiatrist and rehabilitation team at the Mayo Clinic, Ms. Schuh graduated from high school and went to college, earning two degrees (communications and theology.) Now 24 years old, she lives independently, holds two jobs (travel agent and motivational speaker), and gives back to the rehabilitation community. Recently, she was selected as winner in the Miss Wheelchair USA 2012 pageant. Her comment these days: “I feel like this has made me the person I want to be.”
Although many remarkable individuals were nominated, Ms. Schuh was selected because of her work as a peer mentor to individuals with new spinal cord injuries. She has also helped develop patient education materials on emergency preparedness, relationships and sexuality after spinal cord injury, and serves as an active patient advocate on her hospital’s Community Advisory Council. As a motivational speaker, she openly shares her story at schools, churches, corporate and medical organizations and correctional facilities with a powerful message of perseverance and a yearning to find purpose in life.
The Foundation for PM&R created this award to raise awareness of the difference between “recovery” and “rehabilitation”, and the vital role that physiatrists play during the rehabilitation process. Physiatrists are medical specialists in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. This medical specialty focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illness that cause temporary or permanent impairment and disability. These conditions can be painful and impair an individual’s mobility, self-care skills, ability to work, participate in recreational activities, and fulfill some family and community roles. Physiatrists strive to restore health, improve function, reduce pain and enhance quality of life for individuals with disability. Treatment is highly individualized and focuses on noninvasive techniques.
The 2012 American Rehabilitation Champion Award will be presented to Ms. Natasha Schuh on Saturday, November 17 at 9:30 AM in Ballroom D of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Atlanta. The awards ceremony is held in conjunction with the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Assembly, the largest continuing medical education event for physiatrists in North America. Ms. Schuh will also be speaking with Foundation for PM&R supporters on Friday, November 16 at 6:00 PM in the same location, and will be available for interviews by appointment.
Jennifer L. Vince, M.Ed.
312-593-4470 Cellular Business Line