Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Dzialo Family Blazes a New Trail

Adam Dzialo enjoys the Shining Sea Bike
Path in Falmouth, MA near where  he lives.
I remember the day that 12 year old Adam Dzialo nearly drowned in the Deerfield River. It was the summer of 1998 and I was 3 years deep into my current career of recreation program coordinator. As I gazed at the headline on the front page of the Greenfield Recorder, my heart sank into my stomach. Something had gone terribly wrong in an outdoor recreation program in our community. It was a program coordinator's worst nightmare, but this gut wrenching fact was irrelevant compared to the incomprehensible agony of Adam and his family.

Now, twelve years later, the story of the accident and the ongoing recovery of Adam and his family are now available in a new book called Ceramic to Clay, by his mother Sharon Dzialo. It is so new off the press, I don't have a copy yet, but plan to give it my full attention soon. You can find it on Amazon or at the link above. Adam's father Phil has recently started a blog called Healing, Empowering and Thriving, which chronicles the many aspects of this family's unique approach to supporting their son's recovery to the fullest extent possible. Their story is a raw and tender journey we should all know and respect. Their model is a true guide for others who strive for solutions outside the box and want to keep and care for their loved ones at home beyond the realm of typical institutional care.

I've come to know Adam and his family a bit over the years. They have attended some of our Universal Access programs to try out ice skating (Adam is a former  hockey player), cycling, and using a beach wheelchair to get back in the water - no small feat for this family.

When I first met Adam, he stared off into a corner of the ceiling. It was hard to tell if he was present inside his body. Now when I see him, he locks eyes with mine, his face lights up with a huge smile, and he laughs! My partner Maribeth has been a primary therapist for him for many years now and occasionally shares a funny moment or a turning point in his progress we marvel at together. While Adam is non-verbal and requires total care, he and his family are blazing a new trail in recovering his spirit, his personality, and undergoing remarkable physical transformations not previously expected of someone with such a devastating brain injury.

How did Adam survive nearly 25 minutes underwater? How did his family survive the numerous impacts of such a life-changing event? What therapies have been used to help Adam heal and rebuild? You are just going to have to read the book and the blog to find out!

Thank you Sharon and Phil for sharing your experience with Adam and showing us a new way!


Phil Dzialo said...

Thank you so much, Marcy. This was a wonderfully presented and very compassionately written blog. Adam has always enjoyed the outdoors and the programs through DCR that he was able to engage in, especially on ice. Everything was always of the highest quality. I hope this story inspires....

Phil, Sharon, Adam Dzialo

sashastri said...

congrats! keep up the good work/this is a great presentation.

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