Courtney Fassold: It Couldn’t Be Done Without… People Like You!
November 29th, 2021
In November of 2020, Courtney was diagnosed with an illness and hospitalized a few weeks later after having a major neurologic attack. As Courtney was staying in the hospital’s rehab unit, there were many days where her family wasn’t sure if she would be able to walk, talk, or have the ability to use her hands.
In late December 2020, Courtney’s health made positive progress and Christmas was quickly approaching. Her one wish was to be home for the holidays, but her doctors and nurses informed her she would need equipment, such as a wheelchair and walker before she could be safely discharged. Her family was already struggling with insurance coverage for her lengthy hospital stay and rehabilitation– they knew getting insurance to cover the new equipment needs, and quickly, would be next to impossible.
Courtney’s mom, Tara, had come in from Chicago to support Courtney and her husband during the hospitalization and had been assigned her first task – call Turnstone about the equipment loan program they heard about through a church friend. Tara said, “it was such a difficult call to make and I was in tears acknowledging that yes, my daughter is now disabled. Of course, Turnstone stepped up with a wheelchair and walker. Turnstone was there for us during a very difficult time when we didn’t know if Courtney would be able to walk, use her hands or even speak.” Courtney and her family were amazed at how quickly they received the equipment at no cost to them and that they were able to switch out the equipment as her needs changed.
“Turnstone gave me more than equipment, they gave me a sense of freedom,” said Courtney. “Being a part of the Turnstone family is something I never expected. As a healthy woman having to deal with a sudden disability, Turnstone welcomed me with open arms. They helped me stay calm, despite my terrifying circumstances. Total strangers were helping me during the lowest time of my life and they made me feel like I still belong.”
When she began outpatient rehab in February of 2021, Courtney and her physical therapist joked about doing Fort4Fitness together in September. They had both completed road races in the past, so it felt appropriate, but seemed unrealistic due to Courtney’s circumstances at the time. Courtney continued to make strides in rehab and as the race got closer, participating became a major possibility. She asked her friends, family and therapists to walk with her and soon began training on the Pufferbelly Trail. Through walking and doing aqua aerobics three times a week, Courtney was able to complete her Fort4Fitness race!
“The race was such a celebration, not only of my life but also a thank you to my friends and family for all they have done for me. I was slow as a snail, but I did it. It felt like a HUGE step in my rehab. This race fell in line with going home from rehab, graduating outpatient rehab, staying home alone, driving, and being able to get a job.”
Courtney created a new motto, “sometimes just surviving is thriving.” Her hope is for everyone to remember that on the good days and the hard days. “We are all trying our hardest to get through each day, disability or no disability. Always remember that someone is proud of you.”
She created a fundraiser for Turnstone by selling clothing, mugs, and toes with her motto printed on them. Her intention is for the proceeds to go towards Turnstone’s comprehensive programs and services offered for people with disabilities.
We couldn’t do it without people like Courtney who are directly impacted by the programs and services offered at Turnstone and later turn into advocates, helping to spread the mission of Turnstone community-wide.