100% of every donation goes to someone in need

A Step Toward Hope is volunteer-based, meaning every cent is passed to donation recipients.

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About A Step Toward Hope

A Step Toward Hope began in 2005 as an annual gala to raise money for the paralysis cause. The organization thrived and became an official 501-C3 charity in 2007. A Step Toward Hope's efforts center around providing help and assistance to individuals and families who are suffering from paralysis. This assistance can include funding specific needs such as handicapped accessible vans, home modifications and costs associated with rehabilitation among others.

A Step Toward Hope aims to help improve the quality of life for people living with paralysis. The organization is completely volunteer-based, with no salaries to pay. All expenses are covered by Miles Technologies, the company whose employees founded A Step Toward Hope, so 100% of all money raised goes directly to helping people and improving their quality of life.

Mission

A Step Toward Hope's mission is to improve the quality of life by providing assistance — financial and otherwise —to individuals and their families who are affected by paralysis.

How You Can Help

There are many ways you can help A Step Toward Hope in its goal to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families struggling with paralysis:

  • Make a direct donation.
  • Shop online for A Step Toward Hope on Amazon Smile. Simply visit Smile.Amazon.com for all your regular Amazon.com shopping. Select A Step Toward Hope as your charity, and shop with your account as you normally would. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases directly to the charity.
  • Shop online for A Step Toward Hope at GiveBackAmerica. Just click on the link and then search for your favorite online retailer. The retailer will pay a commission for your referral, and GiveBackAmerica will make a donation to A Step Toward Hope.
  • Do you know someone suffering from paralysis who is in need of help? Let us know, and A Step Toward Hope will see what we can do to help.

Donate

A Step Toward Hope is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization run by volunteers, and has no employees. All of the charity’s expenses are covered by Miles Technologies. That means 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go directly toward helping people living with paralysis. If your company would like to match your donation, you can download the tax form for proof of tax-exempt status.

Donate Now!

About Paralysis

Paralysis is the loss of ability to move a part or parts of the body due to spinal cord injury or disease. Paralysis is most often caused by trauma (falling, car accident, etc.) or diseases such as polio and spina bifida, among others. Paralysis does not necessarily imply that the spinal cord is severed or detached, but simply that it has been damaged to the point of causing a loss of function. Approximately 250,000 – 400,000 individuals in the United States have spinal cord injuries. Every year, approximately 11,000 people sustain new spinal cord injuries – that’s thirty new injuries every day. Most of these people are injured in auto and sports accidents, falls, and industrial mishaps. An estimated 60 percent of these individuals are 30 years old or younger, and the majority of them are men.

Who We Helped

click to read their stories

Corporal Visnu Gonzalez

A Step Toward Hope, a 501-C3 charity providing assistance—financial and otherwise—to those suffering with paralysis and other neurological disorders in New Jersey and surrounding areas, has pledged $5,000 to the Homes for Our Troops charity who is building of a specially adapted home for paralyzed Iraq Veteran Corporal Visnu Gonzalez.

On April 21st, 2004, while serving in Iraq, Corporal Visnu Gonzalez was shot by a sniper, severing his spinal cord and causing severe bleeding and near death. Despite surgery to his spinal cord, Cpl. Gonzalez remains paralyzed from the chest down. Homes for Troops, a non-profit organization committed to helping severely injured servicemen and women and their immediate families, has purchased land in New Milford, NJ and aims to build a specially adapted and equipped home for Cpl. Gonzalez. For more information on Homes for Troops and Cpl. Gonzalez, visit this page.

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Paul Haynes

Paul has been living with paralysis since 2009, when he was swept off his feet by violent waves in Ocean City, NJ. Since the accident, Mr. Haynes has faced many physical challenges and has had various medical needs, which most recently included a custom wheelchair lift for his van that would make it easier to travel to and from medical appointments. He and his family are looking forward to having a functioning wheelchair lift that accommodates Paul's larger-than-average wheelchair made for his 6'5" body frame. In 2011, Paul Haynes of Mt. Laurel, NJ will be received a monetary donation as a result of a recent beer & wine tasting fundraiser hosted by A Step Toward Hope and Miles Technologies.

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Tony Leale

Leale has been living with paralysis since 1997 when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in an automobile accident. He and his family are looking forward to easier transportation for him in his wheelchair using the van. Leale’s previous conversion van presented several mechanical challenges and safety concerns. The donation was made possible in part by a casino night fundraiser held at Miles Technologies. The event hosted approximately two hundred guests.

Following the casino night fundraiser, the initiative begun by Miles Technologies and A Step Toward Hope expanded to include assistance from two automotive businesses in southern New Jersey. Auto technicians at Franks Auto Repair Center in Williamstown, NJ donated their time to make some minor adjustments to the van. Auto FX, a custom auto facility in Cherry Hill, NJ, also donated their time to install a widescreen DVD player for the Leale family to enjoy on road trips, daily errands and family outings.

Approximately one month after the fundraiser at Miles Technologies, the fully operational and now customized minivan was presented to Tony Leale, who accepted the donation with heartfelt gratitude. “I’d like to thank everyone for everything they did,” he said. “The van is awesome. It’s everything I needed and everything I’m going to need.”

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Jim Sebest

In August 2010, Jim Sebest, a father of two, took his family to vacation at Bethany Beach, Del., and, being the very physical person that he is, was out playing in the waves. Jim dove under a wave and hit the ocean floor. His wife, Andi, had to pull him out of the waves. Lifeguards performed CPR. While not completely severed, Jim's spinal cord was injured to the point that he has very little movement below the neck since his accident, and was unable to breathe without a ventilator for the longest time. Jim, in his early 40s, suffered a broken vertebra in his neck and bruising in his spinal column. Obviously, the events of Aug. 26, 2010 have been life changing for the Sebest family, but Jim's tenacity is prevailing and progress is being made in aqua therapy and even participation in Project Walk. Jim, Andi and their two children reside in Lancaster, Pa. Contributions by A Step Toward Hope enabled Jim to spend one month at Project Walk in California earlier this year.

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Stephen Seder

Family and friends are rallying around a 1996 Deptford High School graduate suffering from a recent spinal injury. Stephen Seder, 35, was swimming at a beach in North Carolina on July 27 when he hit his head on a sandbar. The accident damaged several vertebrae in his neck, leaving him almost completely paralyzed. Now, Stephen and his finance, Mandy Stroud, are dealing with their new reality as Stephen recovers. The couple, who have two children, is also dealing with enormous medical bills and escalating care costs. Doctors initially told Stephen that he would spend the rest of his life as a paraplegic. He rejects that prognosis - continuing to work around the clock to regain at least some of his mobility. Stephen shares: "I'm shooting high, I'm working hard. I've got a lot of people behind me, and I promised them I'm going to fight."

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Harry Storz

An avowed Eagles and Flyers fan with a love for fixing cars and tackling anything mechanical, Harry Storz was riding his beloved 1995 Harley-Davidson DynaGlade motorcycle on June 20, 2011 at the intersection of Aramingo and Oxford avenues in Philadelphia when a young driver careened across four lanes of traffic and struck him. Harry was unresponsive at the scene. Taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, Harry was in a coma for two weeks. Doctors told his family that most crash victim's in Harry's condition would likely have been killed. He sustained a broken neck, fractured jaw, punctured lung, fractured ribs and fractures to both arms and wrists. During his time in the hospital, Harry suffered two full cardiac arrests. Today, Harry lives with his devoted parents, Harry and Kathleen Storz of Cape May County. A quadriplegic, Harry, father of three sons, faces each day with hope as he remains in the loving care of his parents.

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Robert Clark

On January 29, 2009 Miles Technologies hosted a Grand Opening Event for the company’s recently purchased new office building in Clifton, New Jersey, located at 412 Main Avenue. All proceeds from the event went to A Step Toward Hope, a 501-C3 charity that provides assistance to those suffering with paralysis and other neurological disorders in the Delaware Valley.

A portion of the proceeds from the event helped cover expenses for Robert Clark of Clifton, NJ, who was paralyzed from the waist down after being injured in action during the Vietnam War. A Purple Heart recipient himself, Mr. Clark has designed a monument dedicated to other recipients of the nation’s oldest military decoration, which sits in front of the Clifton Public Library.

Mr. Clark is currently facing the additional medical challenge of requiring an oxygen tank to breathe, and is in need of assistance for covering medical bills and other living expenses.

“As a company, we strive to use our presence in the community to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Chris Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Miles Technologies. “When we heard about Mr. Clark, and what he has done to honor this country and his fellow servicemen, we decided to turn this event into an opportunity to help him in return.”

The funds raised for Clark were used to help install a customized bathroom in his home.

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Guy Greco

Guy Greco's family will always remember October 30, 2008, as the day that changed their lives forever. The former UPS driver was at the top of an extension ladder power washing a building. The window trim he was gripping for stability gave way, and he fell off the ladder landing on his back, crushing several vertebrae and severing his spinal cord. He was transported by helicopter to Temple University Hospital where he was diagnosed as permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

For Guy, his wife Sue, and their three young daughters, Katie, Ally, and Emily, life changed in an instant. Referring to their lives from then on as the "new normal," they aim to take things one day at a time. However, the obstacles facing the Grecos are numerous, both physically and fiscally. The accident left the Greco family in need of a $30,000 home renovation in order to accommodate Guy's needs, and medical bills will continue to accrue, even after the insurance money is exhausted.

Jeff Rotondo, a friend of Guy Greco, reached out to A Step Toward Hope in early December 2008 for assistance. A Step Toward Hope and Miles Technologies immediately rose to the occasion, planning a fundraiser to benefit the Grecos. The "Holiday Family Fun Day" event, on December 20th, 2008, featured activities for the entire family including pony rides, a mini-train, food and raffles. Miles Technologies even donated big-ticket items such as a 50" flat screen TV and a computer for the raffle. The event was a resounding success, and raised over $3,000 for the Greco family.

Despite his traumatic accident and the radical changes that have occurred in his life, Guy's determined nature and love for life are undefeated. The staff at Magee Rehabilitation Center speak fondly of his jokes and determination as he undergoes his physical therapy, citing him as an inspiration to others.

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Scott Jones

Scott Jones, a graduate of Washington Township High School and Rutgers University (both in New Jersey ), was paralyzed in a tragic motorcycle accident in February of 2007 in Maui , Hawaii . Scott suffered a C6 spinal cord fracture and broken leg. Shortly after the accident he was diagnosed with permanent paralysis from the chest down.

Slowly, Scott made progress and in May he began occupational and physical therapy. He had to relearn how to do everyday things like shaving, brushing his teeth and eating. He regained some of the weight he had lost and worked hard to increase the strength of his arms and chest so that he could eventually be as independent as possible.

Although Scott received outstanding care in Hawaii , Scott longed to come home to New Jersey and be surrounded by friends and family. Scott's brother Sean approached A Step Toward Hope about planning a benefit in Scott's honor to raise money that would go towards the air ambulance needed to fly Scott home. Soon an event was scheduled for May 19 th 2007 at Masso's Columbus Manor in Williamstown. The event was a huge success and raised enough money for Scott to be flown home.

Throughout all of the pain, surgeries and procedures he had to endure, Scott remained strong-willed and maintained a positive attitude. He is an inspiration to others suffering with paralysis as well as being a model to everyone that a positive attitude can literally work wonders.

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