In November 2002, Michele Zander, Director of Neurogel en Marche – USA experienced a life changing injury as the result of a rare arteriovenous malformation (AVM) that required surgery. Two failed embolization procedures left her completely paralyzed from the waist down with little chance of recovery, according to her doctors. She persevered and after contacting SCI experts, she chose to undergo a surgical procedure (laminectomy) about 30 days later. This surgery removed the AVM and, following months of strenuous rehabilitation, she was able to walk with the aid of a walker although with constant, tremendous neuropathic pain, and diminished sensory function.
Michele became aware of a “crisis of despair” during the course of her rehabilitation and the following 14 years. She met many people from all ages and walks of life who had become paralyzed as a result of ridiculous, freaky occurrences. A man who was working on his roof fell and became quadriplegic. An 18-year old girl fell asleep at the wheel and woke up in a ditch, paralyzed. A woman went for a walk and a tree branch fell on her back, paralyzed. A football player slipped on a bar of soap, paralyzed. She met numerous young men at a rehabilitation hospital who lost use of their limbs following gunshot wounds. Medical staff would unknowingly discourage her and others by urging them to accept their physical limitations. Essentially they were saying: “Give up! There is nothing you can do.” Broken lives, too many to recount of desperate people who, like her, were denied hope because there was no known cure yet.
Because of this crisis that knows no borders, Michele felt compelled to create Neurogel en Marche - USA to obtain funding for ground breaking research and therapies to help those experiencing the effects of spinal cord injury or other neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s diseases and skin lesions such as scleroderma and bed sores.
Our mission is to promote finding a cure and therapies for chronic spinal cord injury and other neurodegenerative diseases by seeking funding and directing it to the most promising scientific endeavors. As a result keep hope alive; make dreams come true; and do good for many.