Paying It Forward

The following post is written by Daniel Curtis (the son of Nia Trainer Holly Nastasi), who suffered a spinal cord injury in May of 2011. Those interested in donating directly to his cause may do so here.

It’s important to remember how fickle life can be. Memorial Day, May 31, 2011, was one of the tamest holiday weekends I have ever celebrated in my adulthood. It seemed like the smallest moment in time; it happened so quickly, but it detrimentally changed my life forever. We’ve all had a misstep, or stubbed a toe, rolled an ankle or lost our footing. Where I went wrong is that I slipped while diving into my backyard pool, consequently shattering my sixth cervical vertebrae, rendering me a quadriplegic. I could have very easily died that night, as I ran out of breath and my lungs filled with water.

Every great story has its conflict and I’m determined to give mine a happy ending. In my struggle with this injury, my eyes and heart have been opened to so many things that I had previously taken for granted. I discovered caring and compassionate people in the medical field, a deeper understanding of the meaning of family, and the true value of friendship. I also rolled into this world I never knew existed, or never thought to notice. I have found a community of new peers that have embraced this massive crutch and created full and satisfying lives that most newbie quadriplegics wouldn’t dream possible.

Though I’ve had to part ways with what I thought would be a lifelong career in the food and beverage industry, a job that I truly loved, I have an exciting road ahead of me. This life change has given me a new set of goals with a deeply rooted determination to accomplish them. I am indebted to so many people; I can't adequately express my graditute with just words. My new mission in life is to give back, to return all the kind gestures, good deeds and quiet sacrifices that have been made on my behalf—and find a way to pay these forward.

Thank you to everyone who has agreed to host a fundraiser or particiapte in a fundraiser to help promote awareness about the spinal cord injury community. Those who are interested can pay it forward by making an online donation. All proceeds from the On Your Feet Benefits will help fund continued physical and occupational therapy, current and future medical bills, as well as choice rehabilitation equipment for the Lone Star Paralysis Brain and Spine Recovery Center.

Note: Nia teachers can learn more about hosting an On Your Feet fundraising event here (and but must log in for access).