NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — United Spinal Association today announced the appointment of Richard Hayden, a disability advocate and president of its Southern California Chapter, as National Chapter Liaison to lead the organization’s 50-plus chapters in helping people with disabilities discover new paths to independence.
Because of Hayden’s appointment as National Chapter Liaison, he also becomes a member of the United Spinal Board of Directors.
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Hayden hopes to build on his success leading United Spinal’s Southern California Chapter in providing people with resources to rebuild their lives after spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D).
“It’s been a privilege to serve as president of the Southern California chapter and to carry out United Spinal’s mission on the local level. I love being a part of that process,” said Hayden.
“I look forward to helping the organization expand its outreach to all of our chapters across the country, so we can continue to assist more people than ever before,” he added.
United Spinal chapters are self-dependent organizations that share United Spinal’s goals of enhancing the lives of people with SCI/D, their families, and those who provide their care.
They support the disability community by promoting health and well-being, inclusion and independence, organizing local events and projects, advocating for rights and accessibility, and offering information and support.
Hayden, 62, is a sales and marketing consultant, who sustained a T-8 incomplete spinal cord injury while riding his motorcycle in 1976.
He was profoundly impacted during his rehabilitation by Larry Lojole, a peer counselor at the Stavros Center for Independent Living in Amherst, Massachusetts. Lojole would not only become Hayden’s best friend, but ignite his passion to assist others in overcoming SCI/D.
“Rick is a prime example of the perseverance exhibited by many of United Spinal’s chapter leaders who have overcome the adversity of living with SCI/D thanks to their peers and want to pay it forward,” said Nick LiBassi, United Spinal’s VP of Partnership Expansion.
“It’s people like Rick who have volunteered their time and energy to a cause greater than themselves, that make our chapter community so strong,” added LiBassi.
Hayden, who has been married to his wife Karen for 30 years and has five children and four grandchildren, has also been an active participant in United Spinal’s disability policy initiatives.
He regularly attends the organization’s annual Roll on Capitol Hill legislative advocacy event which brings wheelchair users to Washington, DC from across the country to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the policy debate and address legislative and regulatory issues that impact individuals living with SCI/D.
Roll on Capitol Hill has been a life-changing event for Hayden, empowering him to take his advocacy to the next level.
“Roll on Capitol Hill gave me an entirely different perspective on the political process. I developed new relationships and I share what I’ve learned with my local chapter to develop a stronger voice within California,” said Hayden.
For more information, visit https://www.unitedspinal.org/united-spinal-network/.
About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.
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SOURCE United Spinal Association
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