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April 14
2014 - "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams (CalArts BFA 1973) named winner of 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music [story]
John Luther Adams


By Andrew Skinner Founder, Executive Director Triumph Foundation

Star has never been one to let a tough situation keep her down. But an unexpected injury put her resilience to the test.

Life took an unexpected turn for Star when, waking from a corrective surgery, she found that she couldn’t move her legs. An injury to her T10 and T11 nerves caused paraplegia, leaving her greatly dependent on others and navigating a world that suddenly seemed inaccessible.

Preparing for her discharge from the hospital, thoughts of home reminded her of the 2 steep steps and narrow threshold that would now prevent her from entering her house in a wheelchair.

Star is resilient, but how would she ever get in or out of her home without great effort from family and friends?

Additionally, the area where Star has lived for over four decades has a high incidence of crime. Whatever accessibility solution she installs would be under constant threat of vandalism or theft.

That’s when Angelique, a social worker and strategic partner at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, introduced Star to Triumph’s Keep Moving Forward Grant program. With the funds she received, a skilled construction team was swiftly dispatched to assess Star’s home and bridge the gap that had threatened to keep Star confined.

Triumph helped Star install a safe and secure, permanent ramp that would always allow her the access she needs.

Despite her many limitations, Star is now making the best of a difficult situation, working hard to regularly get outside to enjoy the sunshine, visit with neighbors, and perform simple tasks like shopping. All of which gives her a great feeling of independence.

For Star, and so many of our Keep Moving Forward Grant recipients, it was not just about constructing a ramp; it was about rebuilding a life that can withstand the challenges of a lifelong spinal cord injury.

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