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Trauma & Spinal Cord Injury: A Touch of Compassion & Creativity
By: Nataliya Zlotnikov, MSc, HBSc

The Event 

Fernando Resende is an art director and photographer. 

His story began sixteen years ago, with a road trip to Las Vegas with his wife and eight-month-old baby. A head-on car accident left Fernando with a complete C6-7 spinal cord injury. 

We sat down with him to chat about his recovery process and the lessons he's learned along the way.  


How Can Healthcare Professionals Help?

During the conversation, Maggie Bergeron, Physiotherapist,  Embodia Co-Founder and CEO, asked Fernando what he would recommend to healthcare practitioners working with someone who has been through a very traumatic experience, whether it's spinal cord injury or other.

What can these healthcare practitioners do to provide the necessary support to someone who may not have a strong support group around them or may not have a really strong mindset in focusing on the positive and not on the negative?

Fernando answered honestly and openly, highlighting creative approaches and stating that:

"Initially, I was very negative, I was definitely wanting to help myself but I was in a dark place and I had some key therapists that pushed me and were persistent enough to find creative ways of getting me involved and I think that's a big thing."

To listen to the complete interview and hear more about the creative approaches that Fernando's favourite physiotherapists employed, take a look at the 15-minute interview included below.


Watch the Interview Below to Listen to Fernando's Story And:

  • The number one thing that helped him through the recovery process;
  • How he was able to stay optimistic during one of the hardest moments in his life;
  • The impact that physiotherapists, occupational therapists and all of his rehabilitation practitioners had;
  • The importance of being creative with your patients;
  • How to incorporate your professional and personal background into exercises, interactions and therapy;
  • The sometimes understated but incredible importance of being compassionate and empathetic with all people.


Fernando's Story


Cortree and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario


As soon as Fernando was of the right mindset, he began to volunteer as a Peer Support Volunteer with the organization that helped him throughout his recovery journey. 

Cortree is a social venture owned by Spinal Cord Injury Ontario.

They are committed to making life more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities and their families by increasing personal knowledge and providing important services like expert training, disability awareness and protocols, and mediation services.

Cortree is a direct line to reliable information that boosts users’ confidence, competence and sense of community.


Education is Key 

Are you a healthcare practitioner, someone who has sustained a spinal cord injury, or a caregiver for someone who has sustained a spinal cord injury?

We invite you to build your awareness and understanding with online healthcare courses from Cortree on Embodia such as:

And more.

More Cortree Courses on Embodia


Let's join Cortree in making life more inclusive for people with disabilities. 


Blog editor: Nataliya Zlotnikov, HBSc, MSc
Last update: 19 May 2021

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Know how. Right now.

Cortree is your direct line to disability education. Curated by industry experts, our courses offer up-to-date information on topics that boost your confidence, competence and community.

Cortree is a social venture owned by the charity Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. We’ve developed Cortree with the help of our vibrant community members, people who get it, who know life with a disability inside out and are excited to share what they know with you. We’ve also worked with industry experts, health care pros, researchers, counsellors, disability specialists – professionals whose experience and expertise are built into every course you take.

We reached out to our community to find out exactly what topics are most important for people with disabilities and families. The answers? Choosing a Wheelchair. Pain Management. Sexual Health. Nutrition & Kitchen Accessibility. Vehicle Modification. These topics represent some of the many dynamic, interactive Cortree courses you’ll find to help improve or enhance your health and well-being. Look for more topics in the coming months to help you make your home accessible, stay healthy, get back to work, and live the life you choose.

Cortree is grounded in the spirit of Peer Support and Independent Living. At Spinal Cord Injury Ontario we’re committed to making life more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities. Want to help improve accessibility in Ontario? Just say “Yes! Sign me up!” and you can help Spinal Cord Injury Ontario serve, support and advocate for and with people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

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