Little Things Make a Difference, Quadriplegic Woman Says
May 05, 2016 04:27PM ● Published by Tori La Rue
By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals
Taylorsville - It’s been almost three years, but, at last, Nicole Summers, 22, said she’s starting to regain a little bit of movement in her arms and wrist.
“I can drive my own chair now, and I fed myself for the first time,” she said. “I started crying because it’s really the little things that make a difference.”
On Aug. 29, 2013, Nicole and her cousin, Sara Ott, were passengers in a truck when the driver lost control on a dirt road. Both Nicole and Ott were ejected from the vehicle, suffering serious injuries. While Ott regained her body movement, Nicole remained paralyzed.
“After the first year, she wasn’t getting better. She was getting depressed that her life had been altered so much, and it seemed like there wasn’t a facility in the state of Montana that could help,” Carole Summers, Nicole’s grandma and a South Jordan resident said. “We began searching for medical facilities near us in Utah that might help her regain her movement.”
Nicole made the decision last year to move from the home she loved in Montana to the unknown in Taylorsville so she could begin treatment at Neuroworx, an outpatient paralysis care center in Sandy.
“It was definitely hard and stressful and emotional, like a roller coaster, to come here, but I’ve been going to therapy for a year now and it’s really helped me emotionally and physically to be there with people who understand what I am going through,” Nicole Summers said.
Dr. Dale Hull, co-founder of Neuroworx, practiced obstetrics and gynecology in the Salt Lake area for 10 years before he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed in 1999, according to the Neuroworx website. His physical therapist, Jan Black, worked with him for three years to help him rehabilitate, and in 2004, Black and Hull founded Neuroworx, a nonprofit organization, to help others with rehabilitation.
“Knowing that Dr. Hull went through this gives me hope that my granddaughter will someday get out of that little pink wheelchair and walk,” Carole Summers said.
Nicole Summers goes to Nueroworx three times a week for therapy. She spends three weeks out of each month living in Taylorsville with her Uncle to be close to Neuroworx and then spends the last week of the month at home with the rest of her family in Montana.
“My Uncle is my full-time care giver,” Nicole Summers said. “He decided that he wanted to help me, and he believes that I will walk again. My family and friends help me through this, and I don’t know where I would be without them.”
Nicole Summers’ family members said they don’t know where they would be without her either.
“She’s become my hero,” Lyle Summers, Nicole’s grandpa, said. “I don’t know anyone else in our family that could go through this and have a positive attitude like Nicole has.”
Nicole Summers enjoys being part of the Neuroworx Team, a team of Neuroworx patients that visits schools and gives presentations. She tells the students about the importance of wearing seatbelts.
“I figure if I would have been wearing mine, I would have broken my arms and legs, but things wouldn’t be like this,” she said. “I tell them to wear it no matter what because it could save your life. It makes me feel good to share this with them.”
Nicole Summers said she’s pleased with the progress she’s made in the last year. Along with driving her own wheelchair and feeding herself, she can lift one of her legs up while she is sitting down. Her next goal is to brush her teeth by herself.
“I definitely have my down days, but I try and stay as positive as I can and make the best out of my situation,” she said. “My greatest desire is that hopefully, eventually, someday I’ll be able to walk again.”
For updates on Nicole Summers’ progress, visit www.gofundme.com/rescuinghunny2