Author Archives: Kate Blackwell

First Annual Casino Night A Success!

Many thanks goes out to all who supported and attended the First Annual Casino Night benefitting the programming set up for the members of United Spinal Association of Virginia who live with spinal cord injury/disease.

Please see below for a selection of photos taken at the event:



Join Us in Raising SCI Awareness
Our community is stronger when it comes together to educate the public on the challenges of living with spinal cord injury (SCI). As we celebrate SCI Awareness Month in September, show your support for our mission and community by raising awareness through your personal and professional networks. Below is content you can share throughout September to help spread awareness. If you share on your social media networks, use hashtags.#UnitedSpinal #WeRollUnited #SCIAwareness. Thank you for your support!



United Spinal Association Covid-19 Support

4/23/20 Update!

While USA is not currently awarding any new grants at this time, please continue to complete the online form below in order to be notified when more will be granted in about 2 weeks or so. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

United Spinal Association has been awarded a grant from the Craig H Neilsen Foundation which allows our members to apply for Covid-19 Relief Grant of $500 for individuals with SCI/D who are experiencing hardships due to circumstances related to Covid-19.

Click here to read more and to apply for the grant. To learn more about Craig Hart Neilsen, click here.



We sincerely hope this message finds you healthy, happy, and safe! These are definitely trying times for everyone as the most effective defense of COVID-19 continues to be self-isolation from friends and the public in general.  Understanding that these guidelines will be implemented for an indefinite period  of time, and the reality that these policies disproportionately effect individuals in our community, we are working hard to alleviate some of the unique stresses placed on individuals with SCI/D and their families.

This morning, Sportable and USAofVa are announcing that we have joined forces to offer you assistance in the form of an Emergency COVID-19 Relief Program.  We will be sourcing products in high demand (hand sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant wipes, etc.), groceries, medical supplies, and any necessary items that would otherwise require you to break self-isolation to obtain.  Employees and dedicated volunteers will be doingcontact free deliveries.

We are extremely grateful to the Craig H. Nielsen Foundation for affording us the opportunity to further assist our community in adhering to best self-isolation practices and alleviate some of the financial strain this pandemic is causing.

Individuals with SCI should visit where they will find more information about this program, including an online survey that will serve as an application. Requests will be fulfilled on a highest-need basis. For more information about the Emergency Support Program, please contact Wendy Bondeson at, or call 804-340-2991.

The SCI/D community is the most resilient and adaptive group of people society has seen. We will get through this together. As always, we are stronger united.



Sudden Spinal Cord Injuries force many individuals, their families, and friends into a whirlwind in a fraction of a second.  With an average length of stay in inpatient rehabilitation being a mere 3-6 weeks, time is of the essence to organize many objective aspects including accessibility to the ideal place for the individual to return to post-discharge: Home.

For one such family, this was the harsh reality 3 days before Christmas when Liz Hartman, a young mother of 2 with one on the way, faced complete paraplegia due to a motor vehicle accident.  Luckily, United Spinal of Va was able to be present to offer Peer Support and assistance through their newest program, the Ramp Project.

(First USAofVa Ramp Project ramp installation)

Recently, USA of VA was awarded a grant through the Craig H. Nielsen Foundation which makes it possible for individuals living with fresh SCI/D to obtain a wheelchair ramp who would otherwise not be able to afford one comfortably and/or be otherwise forced into institutionalized facilities. To date, USAofVa has been able to coordinate and fund the installation of 7 ramp across the state of Virginia.

“We are incredibly thankful to our community partners, especially the Craig H. Nielsen Foundation, for affording us the opportunity to provide our newest members some ease of mind in knowing that accessibility to the home will be one less thing they will need to worry about, allowing them to focus more on healing and adapting to the new life they are facing. It is my hope to expand on the USAofVa Ramp Project, in the future, so as to ensure that no Virginians living with SCI/D experience hardships when attempting to access their homes.” Richard Bagby, Director, USAofVa.

With the help of our partnering vendors Mobility WorksTycon Medical, and National Seating and Mobility, modular ramps are installed in time for their users to be released from the hospital or rehab, making it possible for them to go home. If you are in need of a ramp for yourself or a loved one, ask your Social Worker for more information about how to apply.  Social Workers and case workers may obtain further information on the Ramp Project by emailing us here.

If you would like to help make more ramp installations possible, please consider contributing to USAofVa. All donations are tax dedictible.