Tag Archives: Team LeGrand

An Inspiration

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About a month ago, my cousin Jody sent me a message asking me if I’d be available to do a charitable photography event.  It was a fundraiser for The Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve Foundation and Team LeGrand. I jumped at the opportunity!

A friend of Jody’s, Michael Elchoness, was turning forty and instead of having a big party for himself, he decided to raise funds for the foundation.  The party was on Tuesday night.  He invited about 100 guests to celebrate at Martini’s Bistro and Bar  in Millburn, New Jersey.  His friend, Eric LeGrand was there and he was honored by the town of Millburn that night with a proclamation by the mayor.

All of Michael’s guests paid a fee to attend the party, there was an auction with sports memorabilia from The NY Giants, Mets and Yankees tickets and an exclusive martini tasting presented by Grey Goose, Tito’s, and Skyy Vodka.  The proceeds from the evening went to support the foundation and towards helping to find a cure to end paralysis.  The food and drinks served by Martini’s was delicious and flowed all night long.

Eric spoke so eloquently that evening. He said that Christopher Reeve used to say that one day all wheel chairs will be empty.  He said that Christopher Reeve started something and he intends to finish it.

It was an honor to be there photographing the event.  I spoke to Eric and to his lovely mom Karen.  They were charming and their huge personalities filled the room with laughter.  Guests served him drinks and food all night long.  There was great music provided by DJ Yoshi, the official DJ of Rutgers.  12 years old, Jack Simon, was treating guests to some amazing magic tricks.  Even Eric was impressed!!  At the end of the evening, Jack had been given tips from many of the guests.  He donated that money to the foundation.  A big move for a kid his age!

Eric is becoming the “new face” of The Christopher Reeve Foundation.  A face that younger generations will recognize.  His BELieve foundation is helping to spread the word about spinal cord injuries.  His positive spirit is an inspiration to all.

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Eric LeGrand

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This evening I have been offered the opportunity to photograph an amazing event!  It is a dinner to support The Reeve Foundation Eric LeGrand.  An organization that helps individuals and their families who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

This is taken from The Team LeGrand Website:

Eric LeGrand is a source of inspiration, hope and perseverance for so many. A standout high school football player from New Jersey, LeGrand went on to play for Rutgers University and by his sophomore year he led the team with 13 tackles on kickoff coverage and recorded a tackle-for-loss in seven games.

On October 16th, 2010, in his junior year, LeGrand suffered a severe spinal injury during a game against Army in Met Life Stadium. Following a collision against an opposing player, LeGrand lay on the ground for several minutes before being carted off, only able to move his head. He was taken to the intensive care unit of the Hackensack University Medical Center, where doctors determined that LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down.

LeGrand fractured his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae and, that night, underwent nine hours of emergency surgery to stabilize his spine. Doctors gave him a zero to 5 percent chance of regaining neurologic function — a prognosis his mother never told him. About two weeks later he was transferred to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, one of the nation’s leaders in spinal cord rehabilitation.

LeGrand fractured his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae and, that night, underwent nine hours of emergency surgery to stabilize his spine. Doctors gave him a zero to 5 percent chance of regaining neurologic function — a prognosis his mother never told him. About two weeks later he was transferred to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, one of the nation’s leaders in spinal cord rehabilitation.

In January 2011, Rutgers announced that LeGrand had regained movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body. It was also at this time that LeGrand entered the Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network.

On October 29th, 2011, the 21-year-old LeGrand, in his motorized wheelchair, led the Scarlet Knights onto the field at Rutgers’s stadium for their game against West Virginia. This moment was chosen by readers of Sports Illustrated as ‘The Best Moment of 2011.’

LeGrand’s tremendous amount of courage, belief and strength throughout his rehabilitation has captured the attention of the nation. He resumed his college classes via Skype and also launched his sports broadcasting career as an analyst for Rutgers Football Radio Network. LeGrand is a much sought after motivational speaker.

In April 2012, LeGrand was offered the final spot on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster by his former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, now the head coach at Tampa Bay. On May 2nd, 2012 LeGrand signed his official NFL contract. In 2012 he also received the prestigious Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.

In the fall of 2012, LeGrand released his first book, titled BELIEVE: My Faith And The Tackle That Changed My Life, published by HarperCollins.

Humbled by the outpouring of support from around the nation, LeGrand decided to form a charity. Team LeGrand of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation was established in 2013; proceeds go toward research to find a cure for paralysis and helping improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.

I am looking forward to meeting this courageous, young man this evening.  He is an inspiration and as the new face of The Reeve Foundation, I hope to learn more about what he is doing and how he is making a difference.