Who was by your side when you achieved a major life goal?
For Ethan Wang, it will be a community of family, friends, and caregivers cheering for him (virtually) as he walks at his Boston University graduation this year. It’s a significant milestone for Ethan, who sustained a spinal cord injury while studying abroad—paralyzing him from the neck down and derailing his junior year of college.
In Bali in March 2019, Ethan was critically injured while swimming in the ocean. He needed immediate life-saving surgery, followed by a medical evacuation and more surgeries in Singapore, before he could return home to Massachusetts. Then came the long journey of rehabilitation.
Our donor community has been with Ethan on this journey, too. Gifts to Spaulding provide resources and support to help patients like Ethan achieve their goals.
“Our family’s main source of strength is the amazing support we have received,” says Ethan’s father, Willis. “There is so much strength in community, and that is what has helped us.”
Paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury (SCI) is an intense, life-changing event. Ethan spent 148 days as an inpatient at Spaulding Boston, achieving a new physical milestone each week. He still has a long road ahead and has continued his rehabilitation through Spaulding outpatient therapy and our adaptive sports and research programs.
Annual, unrestricted donor support helps Spaulding invest in cutting-edge technology and specialized clinician training to uphold first-class care for all our patients. And with past gifts designated for SCI research, we identified new ways to restore movement after an injury like Ethan’s. We have several ongoing clinical trials within our research institute that are testing the efficacy of highly novel, non-invasive treatments to stimulate spinal cord healing.
Ethan has since marked new milestones, such as taking a meaningful family trip to California—his first plane ride since the medical evacuation flight that brought him home—and completing a one-mile walk in the annual Newton Turkey Trot, the farthest he has walked by himself since the accident. “I wouldn’t have been able to reach these goals without Spaulding,” he says.
Ethan is also laser-focused on another big goal: graduating from Boston University. The COVID-19 pandemic postponed his class’s graduation ceremony by a year—and with hard work and determination, Ethan is on track to complete his degree this summer and walk with his class. It’s an academic achievement, and a physical one. Even after a challenging year, Ethan has a lot to celebrate.
Imagine the Possibilities
At a time when scientific advancements can help make the impossible possible, an investment in rehabilitation medicine has never been more necessary — or more promising.
Your gift to Spaulding can make a real difference... starting now.