Craig Hospital PUSH Dinner honors Kevin Pearce
By Glory Weisberg
Craig Hospital’s PUSH Dinner honored Kevin Pearce, who was a 21-year-old snowboarder training for the Olympics, perfecting a half-pipe move, caught on tape, when he landed badly, about as badly as possible for anyone to survive.
He wore his helmet but the damage to his brain made doctors place him into a medically-induced coma temporarily to reduce brain swelling. Sent to Craig Hospital, he spent three months relearning how to walk and talk.
Seeing the video of his condition when he arrived at Craig and seeing him now on stage at the Craig Hospital PUSH Dinner, it’s amazing to see the results of Kevin’s progress. Out of a wheelchair, walking unaided, he was the “poster boy” for the fundraiser. The video and present day image brought emcee Jim Benemann to tears because the recovery is so amazing. Pearce accepted the Christopher and Dana Reeve Inspiration Award on stage, animated and adorable.
The PUSH dinner is only 13 years old but has already raised $9.5 million for what is way more than just a hospital, it’s a world of its own where brain trauma injury treatment is helping many not just recover but enabling them to learn new skills. Such care leads many patients to carve out a path to meaningful employment and for some, with adaptive technology, learn to even drive again. With his family at his side, Pearce merited a standing ovation.
John Ikard chaired the event. Hospital President and CEO Mike Fordyce noted that PUSH funds support cutting-edge research and Programs of Excellence and the paddle raiser funds the hospital foundation’s Patient Assistance Fund.
PUSH Founder Art Seiden started the dinners in honor of his wife, Julie Seiden. The Pearce family started the Kevin Pearce Foundation to support organizations serving those affected by brain injury, including Down syndrome. The first $10,000 was given to the Craig Hospital Foundation.
Patients from all 50 states come to Craig for spinal injury treatment.