Local Chapter of United Spinal Association Established at Rehabilitation Hospital

Helen Hayes Hospital has been named as the headquarters for the newly created Hudson Valley Chapter of the United Spinal Association. The charitable organization will provide free membership and offer resources, advocacy, ongoing education and peer support to individuals with spinal cord injury, their families and caregivers in the Hudson Valley region.

Whether leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or having spent years of frustration coping with disability, the new Chapter aims to provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation. In addition, the Chapter will raise local awareness about spinal cord injury and disease, promote life-long health and host special programs and events.

“We are very excited to institute an official chapter of United Spinal at Helen Hayes Hospital,” says Hudson Valley Chapter president, Matthew Castelluccio. “United Spinal is the largest not-for-profit dedicated to helping people with spinal cord injuries and diseases and we are looking forward to extending the organization’s benefits to past and present HHH patients, as well as to members of the community.”

The Chapter’s home base at Helen Hayes Hospital enables members to access all that HHH has to offer to the spinal cord injury/disease community, including the hospital’s Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program. This program includes introductory clinics to such sports as hand cycling, sailing, rowing, skiing, softball, golfing, rock climbing, adapted yoga and gardening. In addition, members can benefit from a peer mentoring program and monthly spinal cord injury support groups. “A peer mentor can make a tremendous difference in how successfully someone adjusts to spinal cord injury, effectively helping to restore a person’s self-confidence and coping skills and providing a new social network.,” says Elaine Castelluccio, Chapter Vice President.

To enable the start of its charitable work in the community, the Hudson Valley Chapter recently elected its 2015 board of directors and officers. The 2015 board of directors are Matthew Castelluccio (President), Elaine Castelluccio (Vice President), Ashley Manzano (Secretary), Lori Meszler (Treasurer), and members Hilda Kogut, Peter Gagliardo, Keith Gurgi, Kathleen Martucci, Dr. Ferne Pomerantz, Yvonne Evans and Mary Creagh.

For more information about the United Spinal Hudson Valley Chapter, or to become a member, please contact Matthew Castelluccio at 845-786-4950. To learn more about the national United Spinal organization, please visit http://www.unitedspinal.org/.