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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - Elisa Luna, Shooting Victim, Turns Tragedy to Triumph

Elisa Luna demonstrates how she is
re-learning to walk at PNRC with the
assistance of leg braces and her
therapist, Trish Erpelding.

Local Elementary School Principal Elisa Luna, a February 2010 shooting victim, today launched a fundraising effort to support the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, where she is receiving outpatient therapy for a spinal cord injury.

“Luna’s fundraising effort is an inspiring example of turning tragedy to triumph” said Dr. Mary Dillon, director of the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center. “We appreciate her taking the initiative to lead this fundraising effort on our behalf.”

Luna was critically injured when a disgruntled teacher opened fire in her office. The teacher recently was convicted of shooting Luna and Assistant Principal Amy Brace.

Luna is working to raise funds for several pieces of high-tech equipment that could provide additional benefit to other spinal cord injury patients, as well as others working to overcome debilitating conditions. The equipment being considered includes several new robotic and computerized devices designed to assist with movement patterns, reduction of contractures and spasticity which facilitates neurologic recovery. Specifically, the equipment includes a robotic gait orthosis with treadmill, an arm exoskeleton orthosis with computerized real-time feedback and a lower extremity functional electrical stimulation device.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be where I am today, and I credit a lot of my recovery to the outstanding care delivered by Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center,” said Luna. “When I learned about specialized equipment that could benefit others facing struggles similar to mine, it seemed only natural to lead an initiative to bring that equipment to Patricia Neal.”

Donations can be made by calling 865-531-5210 or online by clicking here.

For more information about the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, visit http://www.patneal.org/.

Named for the late actress Patricia Neal, a Knoxville native and stroke survivor, the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center is a 73-bed facility nationally recognized for its treatment of stroke, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, multiple trauma, orthopedics and other neurological conditions.

Since its beginning in 1978, over 30,000 inpatients have come to the Center to begin their recovery. The Center treats approximately 1,000 patients annually. In addition, close to 100,000 people have received treatment in our 13 outpatient clinics located throughout East Tennessee. The Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center is a member of Covenant Health.

Elisa Lune meets the media

PNRC Medical Director Mary Dillon, MD, and Elisa Luna spoke with the media about Luna's fundraising plans
on Wednesday, Dec. 21.  Following the press conference, Luna and her therapist demostrated some of the
exercises and therapies Luna is currently using to rebuild her body strength and abilities.

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Knoxville, TN 37922
(865) 374-1000