As parents, the one thing in life that we all hope for is the safety, health and well being of our children. Never do we want to receive a phone call that those prayers have been compromised in any way.
In December 2011 just before Christmas break, Prospect Heights mother of four Gina Locascio received just that kind of phone call. The number appearing on her cell phone was from a friend of her son Sal. Knowing that when a friend calls that it could be something serious, she was terrified. The friend went on to tell her that Sal had been skiing and during an icy jump lost control, landing on his back. He could not feel his legs.
Because Sal was over 18 years of age the hospital/medics were not giving Gina any information. Fortunately while they were on the phone she could hear Sal tell them it was okay to tell her everything. She was thrilled he was conscious and able to give his consent.
At the time of his accident, Sal was in the midst of his junior year as a business-finance major at Northern Colorado University in Greeley. He was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver by Flight for Life. It was there that surgery was performed to lock his vertebrae in place however, the accident resulted in continued quadriplegia.
He spent five months in Chicago at the Rehab Institute and then returned home. The first few months were difficult says Gina, but only in adjusting to what she calls their "new normal". Her attitude is amazing - as is his. Positivity has allowed Sal to learn to regain the use of his arms although not his fingers. He is able to manipulate and use his I Pad, his I phone, brush his teeth and feed himself.
He does require assistance in dressing himself, meal preparation and other daily functions we all take for granted. Gina is there to help him with everything and her other three children are of great help as well. He is in physical therapy several times per week and as the spinal cord takes approximately two years to regenerate, they hope for further progress.
Sal's life in Colorado and college was interrupted by this tragic accident. His greatest dream is to return to school there and finish his degree in finance. Having completed a significant amount of research in how to do so, he would be able to live in a handicap accessible dormitory close to the buildings where he would take classes.
The greatest stumbling block is the cost of care giving to enable him to fulfill this dream. Sal would require a caregiver nearly full time and the cost of this is enormous.
Gina speaks as a mother who wants nothing more than for her son to fulfill this dream. She talks of how he has never once complained or felt sorry for himself. He has worked so hard to make the progress that he has. He does not want pity as he knows his situation could be worse.
He is a driven, ambitious young man who will even take a driving exam in April. He is determined to become as self sufficient as he can. But no matter how determined he is there are things his paralysis will not allow him to do.
On Saturday February 23 from 2:30 to 7:00pm, a fundraiser is being held for Sal to raise the money necessary to cover the cost of a caregiver while he completes his degree. It will be held at Durty Nellies in Palatine. Please click here for all the information. There will be live music, raffles, food and drink!
If you can't attend the event but would like to make a donation, please make checks payable to:
Gina Locascio-Salvatore's Medical Fund, and send to:
Mt. Prospect State Bank, 299 West Central Road, Mt. Prospect, IL 60056 Attn: Sally Behun
Let's all help Sal and give him hope that he can fulfill his dreams.
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