Help Hope Live for Maplewood’s Ryan Burbank

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Carolyn, Ryan, Eric and Beau Burbank at home on Boyden Avenue.

Carolyn, Ryan, Eric and Beau Burbank at home on Boyden Avenue.


Maplewood resident Ryan Burbank was paralyzed from the chest down in a swimming pool accident in July 2012 at the age of 18.

Now 21, Burbank has come far in his rehabilitation. When The Village Green interviewed Ryan last fall, he had gained back most of the movement in his arms, including wrist movement, and had also made improvements such as moving his left ankle and left toes and starting to offer resistance with that one foot.

However, procuring insurance coverage for equipment and physical therapy has proven increasingly challenging.

Now, Ryan has announced his need to raise $30,000 through donations, to overcome obstacles reversing his progress. The money raised will go towards getting the necessary equipment needed to cover uninsured medical expenses associated with his catastrophic spinal cord injury. Equipment includes FES RT300, AKCESS Compact v2 Pro and a power assist wheelchair.

To donate visit, or mail a donation to Ryan Burbank’s Special Needs Trust Fund, 19 Boyden Ave., Maplewood, NJ 07040.

Ryan personally chose to partner with Help Hope Live, a trusted non-profit organization, because it specializes in injury-related expenses only.

The freak accident resulting in these injuries occurred when Ryan fell into his pool and broke his neck. His medical diagnosis is C6 ASI C spinal cord injury with Tetraplegia and Neurogenic bowel and spasticity issues. Ryan’s doctors explained that since the spinal cord was not severed, there exists the possibility that Ryan can regain more movement, feeling and sensation. Ryan’s therapists and doctors have been impressed with his willingness and drive to succeed.

In short, anything is possible and Ryan is determined.

“I know I still have a long road to recovery but I am willing to work as much as I possibly can, regardless of the pain it causes. I can deal with the pain… it’s the sitting around, not being able to work towards recovery and the hope of walking again that I have a hard time dealing with,” said Ryan.

Ryan’s mom, Carolyn Burbank, is a Special Education teacher in the Millburn School District, and his father Eric, is the recently retired Director of Maplewood’s Public Works Department. Eric retired last December in order to devote himself more fully to Ryan’s recovery. Justin and Nicholas, Ryan’s brothers, also assist in daily care and social activities.

To find out more about the Burbanks, read The Village Green’s interview with Ryan, Eric and Carolyn here.



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