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Nick’s Story

Nick was on vacation with his family in Maui when he sustained a Spinal Cord Injury while swimming in the ocean.  He had two surgeries and was in the ICU for 19 days and spent 9 weeks in rehab at Nation Rehab Hospital in DC.

He is home now and is giving his all toward recovery as an outpatient at NRH.

We started this journey with a much anticipated vacation back to Nick's birthplace, Maui, Hawaii.  We lived there for 2 1/2 years and have always told Alex and Nick that we would return.  This year was the year to make the trip.  We were celebrating Alex's graduation from Lake Braddock and Nick's 17th birthday (July 31st).  We flew into Maui on Tuesday, July 24th - we were very excited to be back home again.  Even though the kids were too young to remember our time in Maui they have relived it several times with numerous accounts of our wonderful time there with family and friends who visited us.  We went to Wailea Beach that night, had dinner at a local restaurant, breakfast the next morning at Duo's at the Four Seasons Resort and then to Wailea Golf Course to visit some of Steve's old co-workers.  We made a tee time for that Friday.  Nick received a call from the head coach of Christopher Newport University that morning interested in talking to him about playing for that school.  Nick decided he should wait to call him after our visit to "Big Beach".  At around 12noon we arrived at Big Beach and went straight to the water.  The waves weren't as big as they normally are.  Alex and I went back to our towels while Steve and Nick stayed in the water (they are always the last ones to leave!).  The next thing I know there is a lifeguard buggy that passes our towels and then another one.  Out of curiosity I walked toward the water wondering who was hurt.  There was a group of people by the water and I saw someone lying on the sand.  I noticed Steve hovering over someone and than I saw Nick's feet.  This was the beginning of our vacation.  We stayed in the hospital for 19 days in ICU at the same hospital he was born in 17 years ago. 

Nick continues to work hard in acute rehab and we are coming close to a discharge date.  We are targeting mid October for Nick to come home.  Currently, home modifications are being made to get ready for Nick's second Homecoming!  After acute rehab, Nick will continue with outpatient therapy every day for a few hours for about 6-8 months.  Nick started school in January part time taking Honors English 12 and Government while still taking Geosystems on line to get his Advanced Studies Diploma.  He is on the Lake Braddock Baseball Team cheering his teammates on and looks forward to graduation on Wednesday, June 19th when he can walk across the stage to receive his diploma from Principal Dave Thomas.

Here we are, Thanksgiving 2014 and since the last entry Nick was able to walk across that stage to receive his high school diploma to a standing ovation at the Patriot Center at George Mason University.  He is now taking classes at George Mason.  He is continuing with his therapy once a week at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in D.C. along with working out with his personal trainers at home 2-3 times a week. He has been asked to participate in the pilot program at George Mason for their Rehabilitation Science department in conjunction with NRH.  We hope to start in December.  Nick is in training to walk 2.6 miles at the Rehobeth Beach Marathon on Dec. 7th.!  Nick is using a walker and his forearm crutches more often than his wheelchair. Progress has been steady and always amazing!

Thank you for following his story!

Latest Journal Update

Swim with Mike Event - May 30th - Paying It Forward

Hello Everyone!

Nick's Mom here with an update! It's been quite a while since my last entry. Lots of wonderful things have happened in the last 6 months and there is another wonderful event that will be happening on May 30th that I wanted to let everyone know about. First things first: Nick, along with 2 other gentlemen, received the Victory Award from the National Rehabilitation Network for demonstrating strength, determination and perseverance in the face of physical adversity". He had to give a speech in front of 550 people. One of his physical therapists had videotaped the event and you can find it on YouTube. "Second - during Nick's winter break he started his job at the State Department in DC and loved it! He'll be going back this summer - so lucky that I have a rider like Nick to go into DC everyday! Makes using the HOV lanes a lot easier! Lastly, we just came back from a 10 day trip to Italy visiting Alex, who is studying in Florence this semester. The weather was lovely, the food was fabulous and the wine was superb. We even got to visit some churches, museums, palaces and the US Embassy in Rome along the way!

Last year we found out that Nick was being awarded a scholarship from the Swim With Mike Foundation. They provide scholarships for Student/Athletes, who have suffered life changing injuries, to attend college - a great equalizer. This organization is named after an All American swimmer from USC named Mike Nieholt who sustained a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident 35 years ago. His friends put together a fundraiser to get him an accessible van and they decided to continue with the fundraising and at Mike's request - give the money to students in the form of scholarships to help defray college expenses. They have raised over 15 million dollars in 35 years and Nick is one of about 4 recipients on the East Coast who receives a scholarship from this great organization.

One of the other students who received this scholarship is Cole Sydnor who is attending the University of Richmond. Last year they started scholarship fundraising event called "Roll With Cole" which is an all day sportathon to be held on Saturday, May 30th outside of Richmond. Once we found out about this event we immediately thought this was our opportunity to pay it forward and help in the event. Cole's Mom, Kelly, gave me a wish list of things she is looking for that would help. I thought of how resourceful Nick Nation has been for us and I'm reaching out to you again to see if you could help make this event a great success to help other kids get scholarship money to pursue their dreams. Here is the list:

- Items for auction - gift certificates, gift cards, sports memorabilia
- T-Shirts that can be donated or charged for an attractive price for sale as well as for the volunteers -
- Banners, posters, signs to be made for the event
- A Band or DJ that can play during the all day event
- Food Vendors
- Volunteers to work the event
- People to participate in the sporting events - 5K, Wheelchair rugby, basketball, Corn Hole, tennis, volleyball, etc.
- Mascots from any sports team

Here is where you can find a video of the Roll withCole event that was held last year. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to help in any way. My phone # 703-595-3177 or you can contact me at Unfortunately the hyperlink is not supported so please copy this link into your browser and check it out:

Please let us know if you have any ideas or would like to support his worthy cause!

Thank you!
Sylvie and Steve