ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Hockey greats are gathering Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul to help raise money for the 2013 Bel13ve In Miracles Gala.
Funds will go to spinal cord patients who can benefit from the same expensive therapy that has helped Jack Jablonski, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s hockey player who was hit during a game in December 2011 and became paralyzed.
He was initially told that he would have almost no movement from the neck down. But by participating in treadmill workouts and other therapies at the Courage Center, he has made remarkable progress.
Among those present on Thursday to help fundraise are NHL greats Bobby, Brett and Dennis Hull.
“Since this has happened, it’s my goal to help other people,” he said.
The Courage Center’s ABLE program costs $18,000 for three months of therapy. For Jablonski, three to five days a week of working out on this equipment continues to improve his mobility.
“I have definitely been able to gain a lot more movement and strength in my arm,” he said.
Joe Lang, 11, is one of those who has gotten a scholarship from the Jablonski foundation.
“It feels awesome, I really appreciate it,” Joe said.
Lori, his mother, said the family couldn’t afford the full cost of the therapy.
“It’s so nice to know we have the scholarship,” she said.
The gala’s also raising money for groundbreaking research at the University of Louisville. Researchers are using a Medtronic device that is FDA-approved for pain management and have been getting dramatic results.
Rob Summers is one of four people to have the device implanted in his lower abdomen.
“On my third day of therapy, I stood independently for the first time in 4 1/2 years,” he said.
It’s just a trial study, but the work in Louisville that Jablonski’s gala is funding gives him hope.