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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Placerville Mobility Support Group Helping All with Ambulation Impairment

06/01/2015 09:24AM ● By Style

L to R: Lynn Murray, Amy Heilman and Dwayne Nystrom - Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Although he spent 32 years as a high school teacher and athletic coach, Lynn Murray says he learned the greatest lesson of his life not in the classroom, but after surviving a 30-foot fall that broke his back and put him in a wheelchair. 

“I’m not much for religion, but I like the idea of having a purpose, of being here for a reason and that sort of thing,” he shares. “The way I see it, it’s pretty simple. I’m damn lucky to be here. So, if there’s anything I can do for folks going through the stuff I did already, then I’m on it.”

After successfully navigating his own road to recovery, Murray founded the Placerville Spinal Cord Injury Support Group in 2007 to help others facing life-altering ambulatory injuries. Three years later, the organization gained non-profit status and became the Placerville Mobility Support Group (PMSG). 

“We’re in the business of improving the physical, mental and emotional health of persons with any form of ambulation impairment,” Murray explains. “You may have a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, be a stroke victim, an amputee, have post-polio, transverse myelitis—any condition that makes walking impossible or close to it.” 

PMSG promotes its motto to “Get up, get out, get better,” during free meetings held the fourth Monday of each month at Round Table Pizza on Placerville’s Main Street. Every gathering sees a mix of community members living with mobility impairments, their friends, family, caregivers, and the general public sharing a meal while promoting camaraderie and understanding. 

By joining forces with other organizations and programs, including the United Spinal Association, Disabled Sports USA Far West, and Access Leisure—a program of the City of Sacramento Department of Parks and Recreation that provides recreational activities for children, teens and adults with disabilities—PMSG’s positive message travels beyond the foothills. 

“I have confidently referred all of our patients who live anywhere near the Placerville area to his support group. For those who are in his community, I have urged them to make direct contact with Lynn,” shares Kevin Wheeler, a licensed clinical social worker at UC Davis Medical Center’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “With full confidence I tell them they will find someone who is empathic, skillful and motivating.” 

On June 27, PMSG will host its fourth annual Hangtown Cranker Classic, a handcycle and bicycle ride celebrating athletes of all physical abilities. Access Leisure will be on hand to fit participants without bikes to hand and recumbent models while distributing information about local, regional and national recreation programs for the mobility impaired. 

Murray’s 21-point list of goals for PMSG’s future include establishing a bi-monthly newsletter, forming outreach teams to visit local schools, securing office space and growing the Rehabilitation Fund, which assists applicants in purchasing medical equipment, participating in specialized physical therapy programs, and costs associated with participation in athletic events.

“Obviously, support can be monetary; however, a more valuable and longer-lasting support occurs when the community joins us at a group meeting, a board meeting or a special event,” Murray explains. “I like participating and being in the trenches—riding the trails, doing home and hospital visits with newbies, bucking Medicare [and] Medicaid policies, advocating where advocacy is appropriate, and sleeping happy.”

by Morgan Cásarez

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