Ryan's Reach was started as a result of gratitude. Ryan has REACHED out to God, family, friends, and the medical community to grasp his recovery from a severe brain injury. I am inspired when I realize the way he has had to hold on to his life and faith, knowing that God is not through with him yet. If you know Ryan you know he is a leader. He will work the hardest and sacrifice the most to see that a job gets done well, which is why he's always risen to the top. He was the student body president in the sixth grade and again in the eighth grade. He was the captain of his basketball team in high school and president of his fraternity in college. Even though he wasn't the best student or athlete, he led his friends and schoolmates because of his work ethic and his ability to encourage and motivate. When I first brought Ryan to High Hopes, a rehabilitation facility for brain injured students, I reminded him of his accomplishments. I told him I BELIEVED he would do what he has always done; give 100% effort toward his recovery and lead others by his example.

There is a "two-handed" explanation for calling our non-profit Ryan's Reach. As I said, with one hand Ryan has reached out for his own recovery. With the other hand, I know Ryan wants to bring along as many people as he can. Leading by example, Ryan wants to encourage people to recover to their full potential. I know his heart and effort will inspire the other students. I also know he would like to have a non-profit in his name that helps provide some of the necessities of care and therapy that might otherwise not be available to other brain injured adults.

After insurance has run out, families with loved ones like Ryan often have no other choice but to leave them in a sub-acute facility which gives care but little rehabilitation. Stimulation needs to be constant to come back from a brain injury. The mind and body must be challenged. People need socialization. High Hopes has provided this necessary help for Ryan. Ryan lives at home and attends High Hopes several days a week as a student.

While other programs exist, they are for profit and most families can't even consider them because of their high cost. High Hopes is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing comprehensive rehabilitation programs and services for head injured adults.  It is a full- service day treatment program where the students receive cognitive rehabilitation, physical therapy, water therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy, among other things. Ryan's Reach has provided financial assistance to dozens of students at High Hopes over the last 13 years and hopes to continue to provide these funds.

Given a choice I wanted my son to live in our home.  We chose to modify our home and have Ryan live with us. Ryan is able to afford caregivers to do the heavy lifting – showering, dressing, preparing his food, helping him with just about everything.  Ryan received a settlement that allows us to provide this great care in our home and we know this is usually not the case.  Some parents become the full-time caregivers and they are the real heroes who quit their jobs to be able to provide care, encouragement and therapy for their child.  While this is excellent for the brain injury survivor, it takes a huge toll on the family member or members.  We know many parents who haven’t had a single vacation in over a decade.  If they aren’t able to get some time to take care of themselves they often get exhausted and their health is at risk. 

So there are two issues that we noticed aren’t being addressed in our community of a brain injured loved ones.  First, we noticed that when families age out of taking care of their loved one, they are not able to find a suitable group home for them.  They are forced to place their child or spouse in a home for the elderly.  The care may be excellent but it’s not the right place for a young person most of the time.  Secondly, we know families who do not want to place their child or spouse in a home other than their own but desperately need to have time to do some self-care.  They need “respite care” so they can get away and take a break from the day after day responsibilities of caring for their loved one. 

This is why we now have a larger mission than simply providing financial assistance for therapy.  We will continue to do that but we committed to starting a group home for brain injury survivors.  It’s called Ryan’s Reach R&R – Residence and Respite.  The home is in Tustin, CA and it is near High Hopes Head Injury Program.  We anticipate that we will stay closely connected with High Hopes.  Many people at High Hopes need the respite care we will provide.  The home is intended to house four full-time residents and we hope to keep two of the beds available for the shorter stays in order to provide time for family members to take a vacation; “come up for air” so to speak.

Like I said in the beginning, Ryan's Reach was started as a result of gratitude. We are grateful that Ryan survived and is recovering. We are thankful we found High Hopes. We are also thankful for all of the things we could afford that helped Ryan get well faster. We are excited to have the opportunity to make these same things available to others who are equally desperate to have their loved ones functioning again.

In short, the money you donate to Ryan's Reach will go toward:

  1. Providing financial assistance to brain injury survivors to attend High Hopes and
  2. Supporting the operation of Ryan’s Reach R&R. 

We thank God for what He has done for Ryan & we thank you for your continued support.

Lindy Michaelis