Juan has a great sense of humor and loves a good joke. He played wheelchair basketball with the Rancho Renegades for 15 years. He is also an avid skier.
Juan's Journey with SCI
When Juan was 20 years old, he was part of a gang. During that time, he was shot, and he sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI). After his SCI, Juan’s life changed for good. While he was in prison, Juan thought about his life; he decided to change and become a good citizen. When he got out of prison, Juan volunteered at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. In this role, he helped others with SCI. In 1999, he got a scholarship from Rancho Research Institute (RRI). It was part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Later, he was the program manager at the Rancho Violence Recovery and Prevention Program. In this role, he helped patients who were newly injured by violence or an assault. His experience as an SCI survivor inspires his family and others to overcome the obstacles in their lives.
Why did Juan want to be an MSKTC ambassador?
Juan believes it is important to share the MSKTC’s research-based information, especially with people with a new SCI. For people with an SCI, Juan has shown them that there is hope and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Juan is grateful for the support he received when he was first injured. Such support was like a bridge for Juan to a full and productive life. He wants to be that bridge for others. He also wants to let people know that their lives are not over because of their SCI.
What did Juan do as an ambassador?
Juan has used MSKTC’s resources on SCI to educate patients with SCI and their families. He prints out MSKTC’s resources and gives them to patients when he visits them. Juan also talks about MSKTC’s resources when he goes to support groups for people with SCI. He includes his MSKTC ambassador title as part of his email signature. He also includes a link to the MSTKC’s website so that people can find those resources. In the future, he plans to offer MSKTC’s resources at resource fairs and in RRI newsletters.