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Philanthropy @ SCIO

Mike & Carolyn's Journey

Each day in Ontario, families begin one of the world’s most challenging journeys. Your support is needed to provide the services that will help them navigate their way to their best possible recovery.


Last Christmas Carolyn found Mike at the bottom of their stairs with no vital signs. Paramedics were able to revive him, he lost vital signs again on the way to the hospital but they were able to revive him once more. Mike and Carolyn would soon learn that Mike had sustained a spinal cord injury and their lives would be changed forever.

Carolyn: “The early days were quite a blur for us, I was dealing with the emotions of such a devastating accident and Mike was not really aware of details … Mike was periodically coherent … I wasn’t sure what the future held and couldn’t imagine a future without him by my side.”

In those early days Stephanie Bolton reached out to Mike and Carolyn to assure them that she and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario were there for them and would help them navigate the healthcare system and their support options.

Carolyn explains: “Stephanie told us that she would help us connect the dots.” Spinal Cord Injury Ontario Regional Service Coordinators like Stephanie help people from the time they sustain a spinal cord injury through recovery and rehab, to building a life of independence and choice.

Stephanie: “For example, sometimes when I meet people, they’ve already been given assistive technology supports. But Mike had been told it would be a year or two. I knew we could do better than that and got moving on setting up his assessments.”

Mike is now equipped with speech input software and an eye tracking input device that he can use to direct a mouse pointer. The assistive technology has helped him reclaim some independence and boosted his outlook. He is able to email family and friends and research on the internet. Another small blessing is that the equipment allows Mike to again pursue his love of reading. He now can pass some of the long hours in hospital reading independently without the assistance of others.

“I want to go home, but the resources and care needed for me to be on a ventilator at home would be prohibitive,” says Mike, “so getting off the vent is my first step.”

To support this step, Stephanie connected Mike and Carolyn with a previous SCIO client who has successfully come off a ventilator, so they could learn from his experience. This young man had undergone a rare surgery to implant a diaphragm pacing system designed to help normal breathing.

Mike went ahead with the surgery in July and has gone from being able to be off the ventilator for only minutes to recently being able to be off it for four hours twice a day. He continues to work towards being “vent free”.

“This is not the future we had planned, but we’re now changing the plan,” say Mike and Carolyn, “with Mike’s hard work and determination, we are pushing forward to make it the best we can make it. We’re looking forward to what the New Year will bring and are hoping for a brighter 2019.”

“Stephanie has added to our support network. She is another friend who is part of Mike’s journey and someone I can rely on. She has truly been a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel, helping us to navigate, always with a smile on her face and a funny story to share.”

Mike, Carolyn and their family are still on their journey and Stephanie and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario are there for them.

Each day in Ontario someone like Mike begins one of the world’s most challenging journeys. You can make a lasting impact in their life and the lives of their family by making certain they have help in their time of need.


How to help

Thank you for considering a donation to Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. Here are some links on how you can help:


Make a secure online donation using a credit card. An automatic tax receipt will be issued.


A convenient monthly donation is a wonderful way to support our work.


Your business will be in good company and make a big impact – inside and out.


Review all the ways you can donate to SCIO.

Funding insights

We are the largest agency in the province providing support, service and advocacy to people with spinal cord injury. The Ontario government recognizes our role in improving circumstances for 33,000 Ontarians living with an SCI, and supporting thousands of family members, and so provides funding for our work. Though critical, this government funding does not cover the full scope of services to our clients. Which means our donors fill that vital gap.

And it means when a newly injured young man, like Josh pictured on this page, has worked through some fears and feels ready to go back to where he taught skiing before his injury, he can. And, as he does, he can discover just how much strength he has to meet those fears, and experience the joy of the hill from a completely different angle.

? Ask Us
Not sure how we can help? Looking for answers? Connect with InfoLine:
Call 1-877-422-1112 or
416-422-5644, ext. 213