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United Spinal Association, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals living with spinal cord injury or disease, recently named Kim Harrison of Douglasville, Georgia to join other disability advocates at United Spinal Association’s Roll on Capital Hill. The annual legislative advocacy event will address issues that affect the health, independence, and quality of life of individuals living with spinal cord injury or disease. The event will take place in Washington, D.C. from June 16 to 19.

Ms. Harrison is a successful advocate for individuals living with spinal cord injuries; has successfully lobbied the Georgia legislature.

Ms. Harrison lives with a rare neurological disorder, transverse myelitis, which is caused by inflammation of the spinal cord. According to Alexandra Bennewith, United Spinal Association’s Vice President of Government Relations, Ms. Harrison’s story shows that everyone has a voice and can make a difference. Ms. Harrison was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, in 2004. At the time, she was a healthy 45 year old. Within a short time, she was a paraplegic, relying on a wheelchair and walker to get around. Ms. Harrison overcame significant obstacles in order to regain her independence. She has successfully pursued her career goals and served as an advocate for individuals living with transverse myelitis. For example, last year she petitioned the state of Georgia in order to create Transverse Myelitis Awareness Day, which occurs every year on February 15th. In addition, Ms. Harrison is a participant in many adaptive sports offered at the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation hospital located in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Harrison currently works as a distribution administrator for Lowe’s. She was selected for this position from a pool of 390 applicants.

Ms. Harrison will speak to Federal legislators regarding employment opportunities for people living with disabilities.

Ms. Harrison has been asked to speak with legislators regarding issues related to the quality of life and independence of individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders. Specifically, she will be addressing the need for more employment opportunities for individuals living with disabilities—both those with physical disabilities and those with hidden disabilities. In a recent interview, Ms. Harrison explained that Roll on Capital Hill is an important event because it provides individuals living with spinal cord injuries and disorders with a voice and the power to change policies that affect their independence.

Over 200,000 Americans live with spinal cord injuries.

Spinal cord injury occurs following damage to the spinal column. There are currently, approximately 200,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in the United States. Every year, an estimated 12,000-20,000 individuals are diagnosed with a spinal cord injury.

Spinal cord injuries can occur as a result of disease, medical malpractice, or accidents such as, automobile collisions. Alcohol has been found to be a major factor in spinal cord injuries; it plays a role in about 25 percent of spinal cord injuries.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of spinal cord injury resulting from medical malpractice or an accident, you should contact an attorney immediately.

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