For anyone adjusting to living with paralysis, perhaps one of the most significant alterations is to the ability to socialize. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, sharing your passions and connecting with others is something most of us would acknowledge enriches our lives. With reduced mobility, the opportunities for engaging with those who share your interests may need to be found through different avenues. So, when volunteer Cindy Kolbe found out that Dominique, a 24-year-old mom with quadriplegia, could no longer use the Xbox integral to the ability to interact with other gamers, she contacted Random Acts.
Keeping the World Accessible
Cindy met Dominique through her work with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Cindy’s daughter, Beth, has a spinal injury, and in turn Cindy contributes to the foundation as a peer mentor, including to Dominique’s Mom. Dominique experienced an injury to her neck during an accident in 2019. It left her with damage to her spinal cord and paralyzed from the chest down. “At first, Dominique had frequent interactions with others with disabilities in addition to many staff. But after inpatient rehab, she became isolated as she continued to heal at home,” Cindy described of the period following Dominique’s accident. However, having an Xbox with adapted controllers meant that Dominique could connect with online communities and form new friendships.
When Cindy heard that Dominique’s original device had ceased to work, finding a way to replace it became a priority. Cindy applied for funding to perform a Random Act of Kindness and investigated which Xbox model suited Dominique’s needs best. As soon as the act was approved, she ordered the gaming system and shipped it directly to Dominique. “She has had a rough time recently, dealing with pain and health challenges along with numerous doctor’s appointments, tests, and emergency room visits,” Cindy explained. “She missed the social interactions with other gamers, so I hoped this act would boost her spirits.” And it did. Dominique was thrilled at receiving the device, which allows her to renew and maintain her online relationships.