Executive Director Mercedes Rauen is a warm and welcoming voice who services people with spinal cord…More injuries, their families and health professionals, looking to the association to find resources including support groups, advocacy and education on injury prevention.
In 1979, Rauen founded the association after volunteering for the National Parapeligic Foundation at its Chicago headquarters. She's passionate, thoughtful and speaks of the association members by name. "I just fell in love with the work," she says.
Rauen and two employees work out of an unassuming office at the La Grange-Countryside border, coordinating people with spinal cord injuries to present free prevention workshops in schools; keeping their Facebook followers informed of fund-raiser details and relevant news, and, above all, providing information and peer support.
In years past, the association conducted its free spinal cord injury prevention sessions in Lyons Township High School classrooms, but in recent years, their in-school programs have been requested in neighboring cities.