A young man’s journey from adolescence to adulthood via quadriplegia

July 12, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

In, ‘Now What?’, SokheChapke Publishing, Dr. JR Harding and his wife and co-author, Erika Richards-Harding describe JR’s journey from adolescence to adulthood via quadriplegia. Living with a significant disability, they say, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, "is natural" because of who Americans are and because each one understands intuitively the right and responsibility to pursue "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” So there exists no barrier which cannot be overcome. JR tells us how his barrier-bursting journey took him from trauma to triumph. How he was sustained by the family’s love, sacrifices, courage for "tough love" and vision for his future. How he was supported by the team effort of all the friends, personal care assistants, administrative assistants, coaches, administrators and strangers. Without them, JR says, he wouldn’t be able to share his story, adding intriguingly that he’s changed some names to protect the “innocent and the not so innocent”.

Family Caregivers Unite!

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel

Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.

Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.

Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.

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