Nonprofit rehab center awarded $1 million grant

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After a swimming accident, Chris Leeuw relearned how to walk, move his arms and become independent again through physical rehabilitation. Once recovered, Leeuw dedicated his life to creating his nonprofit, long-term physical rehabilitation center, NeuroHope.

Located at 6002 Sunnyside Rd. in Lawrence, NeuroHope will soon expand its facility thanks to a $1 million grant from the OrthoIndy Foundation. The grant will allow the center to expand its continued care programs for spinal cord injury, brain injury and stroke so people living with those neurologic conditions can have affordable access to long-term rehabilitation programs when they leave the hospital.

Leeuw started NeuroHope as a nonprofit in 2013. He wasn’t sure if wanted to keep it as a foundation to assist those in need with hospital bills or create a health center for those recovering from life altering accidents. Regardless, Leeuw knew that he wanted to help people who had suffered catastrophic accidents and needed extended rehabilitation, post-hospital care. At first, that meant raising funds for those who needed them

“The Krannert School of Physical Therapy at the University of Indianapolis had a great idea of what to do with NeuroHope,” Leeuw said. “So in 2015, we raised $100,000 and opened it as a nonprofit rehabilitation center.”

NeuroHope employs licensed therapists and trainers who offer activity-based physical therapy as well as fitness and wellness programs designed for individuals living with a spinal cord injury, brain injury or stroke.

After working with NeuroHope therapists, patients then work with trainers, who continue the rehabilitation process with physical exercises to help build and train muscle and movements. The “unique hybrid” approach, according to Leeuw, supports the possibility of a full recovery for patients.

NeuroHope focuses on offering affordable, extended care for patients.

“We stress affordability for those who need it,” Leeuw said. “Care is expensive, especially over time. We fundraise a lot, and through grants, events and private donations, we’re able to provide this service.”

After his own accident, Leeuw experienced firsthand how the health care system allows those recovering from catastrophic injuries to “slip through the cracks.”

“Health care costs are just so high. My insurance discharged me from hospital care after a couple of months, when in reality, it took me two full years to recover.” Leeuw said. “The system is just not adequate for those who need extended care like that.”

Leeuw wants to change the health care system through partnerships with local organizations and facilities to bring awareness of patients’ need for long-term care.

“Our goal is to work with the health care system and facilities throughout Indianapolis to improve the gaps we have in current healthcare coverages,” he said. “Most insurances only cover 22 to 28 physical therapy visits in a year. For those recovering from catastrophic incidents, that’s just not a realistic timeframe.”

With the new grant from the OrthoIndy Foundation, Leeuw looks forward to growing NeuroHope and appreciates that its mission is receiving recognition.

“We’re just so thankful that another health care organization understands and sees what we’re doing,” Leeuw said. “This grant is going to help us expand our current square footage, services and number of staff members.”

For more, visit NeuroHopewellness.org.

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