Sadly, this is my first update in 2014, which were not my intentions but I have been pretty busy. I do post a decent amount of things on The Walk On Foundation Facebook page but do not really say much about my own progress and story.
For a while now I felt that I needed to figure out how I can use all I have learned from what I have been through to translate into some type of work or career. Initially I thought maybe The Walk On Foundation could be that but since I want to continue to make 100% of what is donated go to the cause of curing paralysis that was not going to do it. I have told people that I feel like I should be a doctor at this point and while I am mostly kidding I have learned a lot about things that I only could learn going through this experience.
I decided since I have spent so much time talking to doctors over the last five years I might as well try to get into something that would allow me to capitalize on some of my knowledge and potentially on some of these relationships. After I finished earning the graduate Certificate in Project Management, I came across a test you could take to become a Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative (CNPR) and decided to pursue this career route. You can take the classes at a lot of different universities or community colleges but since I saw that takes some time and costs about $1800 I decided to just pay for the book and exam and try passing the exam without paying for the class and thankfully I did it! A CNPR certification says that you have a decent grasp on pharmacology and the pharmaceutical sales process and ethics. I had read about people have pretty good success with it and figured that combined with my real life experience, could make me a pretty good candidate for getting into the industry.
I started studying in December and passed the test at the end of February and have since been looking into jobs. Ideally I would hope to get to sell a type of drug that I could potentially benefit from or one that was related to other neurological disorders, since I have such a personal connection. So I began the process and did get a few follow ups but nothing much past that. I honestly was not really sure what direction to go with it because I did not know how flexible this positions would be and knew that I was okay with cutting back some of my time working on my body but not all of it, as the workouts are so beneficial for my overall health and well being.
I reached out to an old high school friend/teammate that I knew had worked in the industry for about a decade. I met with him and he told me that a lot of things in the industry are holding while they see how the Affordable Care Act plays out over the next few months. He knew several people over the last couple years who had gotten laid off and so in addition to owning Mama Mia's in Apex he also started managing people selling prescription compounds pain creams and gave me the opportunity to do the same. It is a little different from most pharmaceutical sales jobs since it is a 1099 job (commission based or you make money per prescription), but it gives me a lot of flexibility with trying to stick with my workouts and work on my foundation. So for just a couple of weeks I have been a sales rep for Specialty Pharmacy out of Cary. I am currently focused on pain cream for inflammation pain (arthritis, tendinitis, etc.) and neurological pain (nerve pain from MS or spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, etc.). The creams can be customized but typically come in one for inflammation, a few for neurological pain, or versions that combine both. One of the many advantages is that instead of taking 3-5 oral meds you take one cream that combines them all. I am excited about it since I have personal experience with both types of pain and I am around a lot of people that do as well and might provide them with a new option for relief. I actually already have a couple of Charlotte doctors agreeing to use me for any patients that they have that are using it or want to give it a shot, as they are already prescribing it as needed. So if you know any folks that deal with this type of pain or doctors that might prescribe it please let me know! Though it is best out of Cary we can ship for free anywhere in the USA in typically 1-2 business days and often the copays are $0-10.
On another note, it is hard to believe that in just over a month we are having the 5th Annual Hope To Walk golf event on May 19th. This has grown to be something I look forward to and something that is collection of a lot of great people that I think do have a pretty good time. I never know what to say when someone asks me about doing it the next year. I guess we will just take it a year at a time and make the decision based off of the prior year turnout and where things are in my life with progress and with medical research.
There are a lot of promising and exciting things going on in the research community right now, which is what led me to start my foundation back in October of 2013. I am hoping I can do what I can to help speed these treatments along to hopefully benefit me and others dealing with similar injuries or even just to help the future injury victims recover as much and as quickly as possible. I am actually holding my first ever foundation event at The Alley on May 18th, the afternoon and evening before the golf event. I will send those details out in the next week or two.
In addition to this foundation event I was recently contacted by a friend and teammates family from high school that own Eco Pro Mulch &Erosion Control and offered to donate a portion of every mulch job done from now thru June to The Walk On Foundation. They do both commercial and residential work and mainly serve the Greater Triangle Area but will go to anywhere in NC/SC and VA depending on the size of the job. They are a family owned business that does a great job at a great price so if you or anybody you know needs any mulch please give them a call and mention The Walk On Foundation!
Thanks, as always, for your continued interest and support in me and my endeavors. I hope to see a lot of you out at the golf event and The Walk On Foundation!