2017 Baylor Instituter for Rehabilitation’s Circle of Care Awards

October 26, 2017  Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation celebrated its 5th Annual Circle of Care Awards at AT&T Stadium, honoring employees who have exemplified compassion and excellence and patients who have demonstrated exceptional human spirit. In addition, the non-profit Neuro Fitness Foundation of Euless, which provides a low- or no-cost fitness facility for adults with disabilities caused by neurological issues or other life-challenging diseases or events, was selected as the Circle of Care Facility of the Year and was the recipient of all the proceeds from the dinner event.

Josh Pierce, 32, of Bedford, a Baylor patient and member of the NFF gym, was given the prestigious Human Spirit Award for his triumphs over leukemia and devastating physical problems. With the help of Baylor and the NFF gym, he has lost over 140 pounds, is attending college full time, plays on a wheelchair rugby team, and has his life back on track. The evening was a celebration of both organizations providing strengthening of bodies and minds through exercise, education and the excellent care of compassionate staff members.

Clockwise from left — Paul Howard, President of NFF; Shelby Lauderdale, NFF Fitness Director; Fabian Polo, President of Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation; Connie Stauffer and Thuy Layhew, NFF Board members, with Josh Pierce, Human Spirit Award recipient. 

Star-Telegram – December 01, 2017

Photo courtesy of Dustin Magwire


Nonprofit Gym Offers Specialized Machines For Disabled

EULESS (CBSDFW.COM) – TJ Griffin is a quadriplegic who broke his neck playing football. But he still needs to work out.

“The only way to really do it is cardio,” Griffin said. “Obviously I can’t jog real well anymore.”

Same goes for Jim Shires, who was paralyzed after an accident on a ski slope.

“I tried to do some physical therapy through the insurance,” Shires said. “That’s only good for about two weeks.”

“All of us with a disability, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important, even more important than the average person,” he added. “The problem is we can’t go to 24 Hour Fitness and work out. There’s no machines.”

That’s where the Neuro Fitness Foundation comes in. The nonprofit gym in Euless houses pieces of training equipment accessible to persons with limited mobility or in a wheelchair.

Members pay what they can afford, the rest is supported by donations and volunteers. Shires, for instance, is assisted into upper body workout stations. His hands are strapped to the weight lifting equipment so he’s able to exercise his upper body.

“It’s been a lifesaver,” Shires said. “I can tell if I miss a week like if you’re sick or something. Man, my muscles tighten up. My whole body, just, you can’t do anything.”

Griffin is able to use specialized equipment to work out his upper arms. He’s also the gym’s current president. He recognizes there’s more to the gym than just a physical workout, he said.

“I only have my shoulders and biceps but if I can get those as strong as possible its going to make my life a whole lot easier,” Griffin said. “You’ve got to keep building those muscles. But more importantly you’ve got to build your mind, your spirit and your soul because you come here and you realize you’re not alone.”

Thanks to donations, more than 200 people with all manner of disabilities have a place to strengthen their bodies and their spirits.

“I like coming here because everybody is basically in the same boat, trying to maintain what we’ve got,” Shires said.

June 27, 2011 CBS News

Nonprofit Euless gym offers pay-what-you-can physical therapy

Members pay what they can at the nonprofit and use what they learn in rehab to enhance their lives.

EULESS — To keep his body working in the early stages of multiple sclerosis, Barclay Burrow went to physical therapy as often as his insurance allowed.

But therapy in a clinic was expensive.

“Every time I went, my co-pay was $45,” he said. “That’s $90 a week. How long can you do that?”

Burrow did it only until he found Neuro Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit gym in Euless where membership costs him $25 a month. People who have had strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries, and clients with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions or diseases pay whatever they can, even if it’s nothing, for physical therapy.

That’s especially important for people who have reached the limits of insurance coverage.

In his third year with MS, Burrow said the gym isn’t a substitute for a rehabilitation clinic; it’s a place where people use what they learn in rehab to continue enhancing their lives.

TJ Griffin, who broke his neck in 1990 playing football for Trinity High School, is one of 235 members who depend on the gym for that enhancement.

“I’m a C4-C5 quadriplegic,” said Griffin, a Neuro Fitness Foundation board member who exercises there at least four times a week. “Even though I’m a quadriplegic, I do almost everything for myself.”

The few things Griffin can’t do for himself include attaching his hands to his favorite exercise machine, the VitaGlide.

Shelby Lauderdale often does that. A physical therapy technician, Lauderdale worked in an outpatient clinic for three years before coming aboard in March to manage the gym.

“I’m here to assist clients with their workouts and help them accomplish their goals,” he said.

Most members’ goals are simply to improve their quality of life, Lauderdale said, but one of the biggest benefits is meeting people who are in similar situations.

In a recent yoga session, three members and the volunteer yoga teacher, former neurology nurse Lorna Bell-Curran, surrounded a woman to help her get into a position called the cat. One of the members was Burrow, who jumped up from downward dog when he saw that the woman needed a hand.

“I’m in a situation where I can help people, so I also volunteer up here,” he said. “You’re among people who won’t judge but understand you at a different level.”

Griffin said that makes Neuro Fitness members a family.

May 15, 2011 Star Telegram