Katrina designed some great shirts for Nike 6.0 that are available in limited numbers, as well as Riley support bracelets and the much sought after Riley Poor stickers. All funds raised will go towards Riley’s ongoing rehabilitation and are much appreciated by Riley’s family and all his followers hoping to see him on his feet again soon.
Hey everyone I apologize if you tried to stop by the blog lately as the server has been down. Good news, obviously back up!
Things are still going very good out here in California, I would finally consider us settled in! Katrina surprised me with a elaborate edit suite so my place of work is now my sanctuary, complete with plant life, inspirational posters, a Buddha, a new computer system courtesy of Nike 6.0, a ton of hard drives and close friend Tyler Hamblet working by my side on Poorboyz yearly release titled “Every day is a Saturday”. Make sure to check out both of the films we are working on this fall, More info available at www.poorboyz.com. I am also happy to report that Katrina has her knitting operation set up once again, and creativity is flowing all around this apartment!
As far as my body goes, spasticity has gotten worse since leaving the hospital making day-to-day life slightly more painful and complicated when it comes to therapy and being functional. Regardless I am a long way from being done with therapy so it is ongoing and will be for the rest of my life most likely. I am lucky enough to have a standing frame (Thanks again IYCD), that I stand in as often as possible, still waiting on the FES bike to arrive so I can get my legs moving again!
As I’ve previously promised I am writing here to share inspiration. The thing, or words I should say, that I have really been keeping me on track both mentally and physically these past few weeks are three simple words all beginning with P.
Potential. We all enter upon this earth with the same thing, we all have the potential to live our lives to the fullest extent each and every day no matter what our situation. Potential is something that should be explored on a daily basis.
Passion. Throughout our lives we all stumble upon things or ideas that make our lives meaningful. Following these passions brings us to the third word…
Progress. With our individual realization of our human potential being combined with our realizations of our passions in life we end up progressing into a better situation every day.
I want everyone to know that no matter what you go through in your life, you will live a meaningful one as long as you realize your potential, embrace your passions, and recognize your progress. For anyone going through a challenging episode such as I am, my advice to you… take a moment during your day to repeat these three words and realize that tomorrow may not be easier but it will always be a step in the right direction.
Throughout this injury the one thing that has really kept me moving in the right direction is my friends. I must say I am blessed to have so many amazing ones! The notes, cards, calls and energy I have recieved from all of you has been a huge inspiration for me and makes it really easy to get up and work my ass off everyday. I am touched that my situation has inspired my friends as well, best case scenario we all grow stronger together right? I wanted to share an e-mail I recieved this morning and my reply just because it really made me realize once again that we are all here together for a reason. Draw strength from your friends, that’s what they are here for…
FROM JUSTIN TO RILEY…
I wrote this a moment ago in my new blog/diary i’m doing and i thought that you should see it. This is more of my inner thoughts but yeah man i thought you would appreciate what it says….. and a bit of background…. shit on my end hasn’t been all great, but its all more of a situational problem. I don’t know, I guess the fact that you are back to work has helped me to really start to get my head in check.
I gained a great insperation from a friend today.
His name is Riley Poor. here is a guy who hasn’t asked for sorrow, but instead has headed full force in to a tough situation to beat the shit out of it with a bat and told that to go away.
This guy broke his spine a few months ago and is paralized below the shoulders, and here he is, already back to work. I’m sure that this helps in his rehab and all that shit, but here I am feeling sorry for myself because I’m in chciago, and in tons of debt and don’t know what I want to do with my life. And here is Riley; going about his business, still working on the simon dumont video, and the fucker can’t walk anymore. This really puts things in to perspective for me and honestly RI, you don’t konw the inspiration that you have been to so many people, including myslef.
Thank you for having such a strong head and following your dreams…. no matter what the hell gets thrown in front of your path. You will find a way to be happy and that is what is important.
Peace and love.
FROM RILEY TO JUSTIN…
Thanks for your note man, I am touched you draw inspiration from my situation. Truth is we are in the same situation, the debt, the unknown and the next chapter all scary as shit. When I broke my neck I realized 2 things, there is no way to prepare for what life will throw at you and secondly how lucky I am to be alive. No matter how overwhelming it all gets the universe always has a way of cosmically working things out and the hard times always become the past. One thing that helps me right now is every morning when I wake up I think of something I am grateful for, during the day if my thoughts wonder to the stresses of life I go right back to that thing I am grateful for and I tell myself that today I am alive for that thing only and every other stress will soon be a thing of the past. Try it for a few days and eventually you will be going to bed thinking of that thing and not your stress, or that’s the goal at least.
Well we made it! Tomorrow will mark two weeks since our arrival in CA and time is flying, as it seems to do these days. I meant to check in on the blog sooner but getting settled has taken a little while. We are still not fully settled in by any means but everyday we get a little closer and that seems to be the story with my injury as well. Adjusting to life outside the hospital is just as we thought it would be, a huge challenge, one that Katrina and I are ready and willing to take on full steam ahead! I have had my weak moments only to be reminded by Tinka that I am a long way from being done healing and if I believe I WILL WALK AGAIN then I will do just that. What can I say, she’s my rock, and without her I would have a much longer road to travel.
Some of you know my family has been through a lot this year and I can’t say thank you enough for being there for not only me but also for them. Life has a way of throwing a lot of crazy shit your way all at once sometimes and how we deal with it all is the true test of human spirit. I want to share with you all an analogy passed on to me by a wise old cowboy (my uncle Ralph) that helped me put some things in perspective…
“Life is like an open box jigsaw puzzle you buy at a garage sale. There’s no picture on the front to show you what it’s supposed to look like and you have no idea if you have all the pieces to make it come together. You just start finding pieces that fit together and just about the time you finally think you know what your looking at, you fit in a new piece that makes you realize you have no idea what exactly your working on. This process continues until you lift the last piece from the box and realize what exactly it was you have been putting together all this time and just how many pieces you truly are missing, then your done.”
Now that I am out of the hospital I plan on writing here as much as my new schedule will allow but I plan on changing the direction a bit. Instead of updates on my physical and mental hardships and advances I want to share with all of you the inspirations that keep me rolling down this road to recovery (I will always use my progress and accomplishments as inspiration). My hope is that one day my words will inspire you to find a missing piece to your puzzle and it will make the finished product that much more beautiful.
I have spoken to Riley a few times since he and Katrina landed in California, and it’s clear they’re gradually becoming comfortable in their new home. They are renting a great apartment in the ‘nice part’ of San Pedro, and Riley is loving the spacious floor plan (lots of rehabilitative laps in his chair) and the view (they overlook the bustling harbor, where tugboats hurry around 24/7 to orchestrate the coming and going of huge container ships — a novelty to a mountain man like Riley to say the least).
They’ve remained very busy since their arrival running daily errands; some of their favorite destinations: Whole Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Riley’s new primary care doctor’s office in Redondo Beach for 3x/week administration of his blood-thinners (as he still remains at risk for blood clots). Katrina has continued to be ‘the busiest woman on Earth,’ doing, well, everything, and Riley has been logging a ton of active wheelchair time–his arms have been sore (in a good way) every morning from pushing pushing pushing. He’s finding that some of his best rehab to-date is just living his daily life outside of the hospital walls–no waiting, no class schedule, just the freedom to push himself (both literally and figuratively).
When I spoke to Ri yesterday, he said he had spent a good chunk of the day on the phone interviewing for a stationary bike that he can power with a little help from some strategically placed E-Stim patches on his legs and back. There’s also a lift at the pool in their new complex, so he’ll be hitting the water soon for some low gravity therapy.
The biggest positive that Ri has experienced since the move has gotta be the mental benefits of going back to work. He has been putting solid days of work together, as he and the rest of the Poor Boyz production/editing team continue to work on Transitions (the 2-year documentary featuring Simon Dumont I’m sure you’ve all heard about).
Other than that, Riley just wanted me to relay his best sentiments to you all … he is still without internet access at the new apartment, but it should be up and running within the next couple of days, at which point he’ll be able to re-insert himself into the web world (working on his Macbook Pro is becoming easier and easier, by the way). He remains eternally grateful to all of you for the support, good vibes, and friendship.
This video was shot at last Saturday’s Rally 4 Riley event at the Freeskier Magazine offices, and provides a great look into Riley’s personal experience with his recovery. Thanks to Mike Thomas for shooting, and Luke Van Valin for interviewing / auctioneering! Stay tuned here, on RileyPoor.com for information about the eBay auction we’re going to hold to unload some of the awesome (and valuable) gear previewed in this video… The eBay auction has been set up! You can access it by clicking this link.
Take a pause for the cause and show your love for friend, partner and ski industry staple, Riley Poor, to help Riley get back on his feet. All proceeds from the door are going to fund Riley’s recovery.
When: Saturday, May 2nd, 9pm – 2am
Where: West End Tavern Bacaro, located @ 926 921 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO
$15 donation (includes bracelet, drink specials, and FREE BEER)
While I was here at Craig Hospital the Associated Press published an article on my recovery. Thought I would share it with you all…
Sports cinematographer healing after spinal injury
By: PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The bright orange stickers were plastered all over at the Winter X Games, affixed to helmets, buildings, tops of skis, even on the seat of a chairlift.
Emblazoned on the decals were two neon words: Riley Poor
A new energy drink perhaps? Or the latest line of must-have skiing attire?
Turns out Riley Poor is a 26-year-old skier turned cinematographer who’s worked with the biggest names in action sports, capturing award-winning images on peaks all over the world.
But he was conspicuously absent from January’s Winter X Games in Aspen, represented instead by the swarm of orange stickers — a show of affection by friends.
Poor could only watch the competition from a hospital bed as he recovers from a spinal cord injury that’s left him paralyzed from the chest down. He did a back flip into an indoor pool after a night of celebrating with buddies following a Winter Dew Tour stop in mid-January at Mount Snow in Vermont, slamming his head against the bottom.
Now, Poor’s going through rehab at Craig Hospital, a Denver facility that specializes in spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
His strength is steadily returning. Poor can lift his hands and make a weak grip. He also can wiggle his toes — with concentration.
Poor’s rehab regimen is arduous, with hours a day spent lifting weights, doing pool therapy and other exercises.
“I’ve just always had this feeling that I’d have this amazing test in my life, that I would walk away from victorious,” said Poor, who’s blogging about his recovery on a Web site set up for him by Freeskier Magazine. “Well, this is pretty freakin’ major.”
His short-range goal is to ride out of Craig Hospital on May 8 in a manual wheelchair, not a powered model.
Then it’s on to broader ambitions — like filming again.
“Don’t worry,” Poor said, sipping Gatorade offered to him by his longtime girlfriend, Katrina Bobier, who is perpetually by his side. “I’ll be back out there.”
A steady stream of skiers and boarders have visited Poor’s hospital room since he arrived in Denver nearly three months ago. Freeskier Simon Dumont paid a social call. So have Sarah Burke and TJ Schiller.
And Tanner Hall arrived in typical Tanner Hall style.
The free-spirited freeskier sauntered down a quiet hospital corridor, screaming out “Ri-lanus” — his nickname for Poor — to locate his room.
“Tan-us!” came Poor’s booming response.
Goosebumps appeared on Hall’s arms.
“I knew right then,” said Hall, who’s spent countless hours filming with Poor in the backcountry. “I knew it was the same old Riley.”
The same old Riley is the one they call “Shrek” because of his ability to carry loads of gear on a shoot into remote locations.
He’s the one they want filming on the mountain due to his vision and concern for safety. Poor won’t make them do something he wouldn’t attempt himself.
“He sees the tricks, knows what you need to make them happen,” Burke said. “It’s tricky to find someone you feel that comfortable with.”
That’s because he’s one of them — only he’s behind the camera.
Poor grew up in Crested Butte hoping to be the next Tommy Moe. His parents encouraged that passion, even excusing him from school on pristine powder days.
Poor did the ski team thing, had sponsors like K2 and Oakley backing him. He thought that was his future.
Then he met Seth Morrison, a rock star in the extreme skiing realm. Morrison hollered at him one day from a chairlift at Crested Butte, inviting Poor into a world he’d only been able to admire through watching ski movies.
Morrison’s sense of adventure in the back country was invigorating.
And Poor jumped on board for the ride.
Ditching ski racing, he dabbled in freeskiing, which was evolving from moguls and aerials to big-air and big-mountain competitions.
It was right up Poor’s alley.
Then he saw Hall in action.
At a competition at Snowbird in Utah, Poor, who was 17 at the time, gawked in disbelief at this blond-haired kid performing unthinkable maneuvers.
Time for a career change.
“I was like, ‘I’m not capable of being in this game if it’s going to be played like that,'” Poor said.
Soon after, he landed an internship with Matchstick Productions, an action sports-film company. He borrowed money earmarked for college, purchasing an $8,000 movie camera. His career was launched.
On one of his first assignments, he captured snowmobiler Jay Quinlan leaping over a spillway of a dam, soaring nearly 80 feet in the air.
Not only did it make Matchstick’s movie that year, it set a tone: Poor doesn’t miss his shots.
In all, he’s been part of more than 25 action-sports films, capturing Dumont chasing X-Games gold, Hall’s first descents in the mountains of Alaska and freeskier Sammy Carlson pushing the boundaries in St. Anton, Austria, to name a few highlights.
“One of the best in the game,” Dumont said. “It’s easy to work with somebody like that, someone who understands what’s going on.”
Dumont and Poor have collaborated quite a bit in recent years. They were in the middle of filming a documentary entitled “Transitions” when Poor was injured. It’s a movie two years in the making that will tell a broader story of how action sports has evolved over their generation.
Poor’s intention is to head to Los Angeles this summer for post-production editing, and release the film this fall.
All around Poor’s hospital room are motivational reminders that fuel his healing — inspirational messages that Bobier scribbles on a marker board, various pictures and cards from well-wishers.
The plaque that sits on his shelf could be the most powerful.
Poor was part of the crew for “Poor Boyz Productions” (the name’s a coincidence) that filmed “Reasons,” which was named ski film of the year at the 2009 Powder Video Awards.
He hopes for that honor again.
“I’m realizing I’m going to be OK,” said Poor, who’s also the ski team manager of Nike 6.0, a youth-driven, action-sports sector of the company. “My plan is to walk out of here. But even if I spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, it’s going to open up a lot of doors and opportunities for me.”
Poor can recall every aspect of the accident.
He was at Mount Snow that day capturing images of Dumont winning the superpipe for the documentary.
That night, the party was on at a house near West Dover, Vt.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 11, a group decided to jump into the pool, only Poor didn’t realize he drew the shallow end. As he spun around underwater, he smacked his head against the bottom and floated up to the surface.
He knew instantly he was paralyzed. Yet he remained calm, telling his buddies what to do once they pulled him from the pool.
Don’t move me anymore, he said.
Call 9-1-1, he ordered.
Tell them I’ve broken my neck, he explained.
Poor was transported to a hospital in Albany, N.Y., where he had surgery to fuse some vertebrae.
After that, he was transferred to Craig to begin his rehab.
“Life is crazy,” Hall said. “What bums me out is that we’re spinning and flipping and in danger every single second we click into skis. Then Riley has this happen. Anything can happen, man.”
The action-sports community realized that all too well with the death of 39-year-old Shane McConkey, an extreme skier who was killed last month jumping off a cliff with a parachute while filming a movie in Italy.
Poor grew up admiring McConkey, who helped him get a foot in the ski-industry door.
“You know how people say to live every day to the fullest? Shane took that to the next level,” Poor said. “He lived life on the edge, was a calculated risk taker — just like a lot of us.”
I finally broke today. My last class was functional skills and today’s task was shaving, I spent the better part of an hour looking at myself in the mirror, and for the first time in my life I could not recognize myself. I know I am still the same face but the person inside me is being affected by my dependence on others. As my Occupational Therapist left the room my world crashed down on me as I looked around and realized how helpless I am without the assistance of others. The simplest tasks have now become my greatest puzzles and my frail shell of a body is incapable of solving so many of them that it has now become overwhelming. I am so thankful to have had Katrina and my mom Maria by my side through all of this, they have been both my anchors and my lighthouse in this unknown sea; without them this day of realization would have come a lot sooner. It took both of them being gone for the realities of this injury to fully sink in and also to realize what a truly long road to independence and full health lies ahead. Thank all of you for your support of both myself and my family, without you paving the road for us it would be a lot bumpier ride.
Hey everyone. Sorry it has been so long since I checked in with you all. As you can imagine, life is still pretty chaotic around here. I’ve made some major progress since I last checked in, I had my neck collar removed which has been huge for comfort and mobility, and I was also moved to the East wing of the hospital to a much bigger room that is set up for a more independent life style. Last night was my first night sleeping in a real bed in the last 3 months. It was a huge step to watch my hospital bed leave the room and to spend the night sleeping next to my love. It’s crazy to look back over the last 3 months and see the progress I’ve made since being admitted to the ICU in Albany. I must say I’ve been proud of myself in my ability to accept this injury and work as hard as I have despite the mental rigor that paralysis can bring. I wouldn’t have been able make all of the progress that I have without all of your support. So thank you all once again for that. I am set to leave here on the 7th of May and I am very excited to spend the next four months living in LA with katrina and working on “Transitions” with Poor Boyz productions.I plan on continuing my rehab in LA as well as spending endless hours in an edit suite as well as hopefully a few on the beach.Katrina will be going to LA this weekend to find us an apartment as well as look into doctors in the area and explore the Redondo Beach area a bit for herself.I must apologize that I haven’t gotten back to more of you I’ve got a hefty stack of emails, facebook messages, text messages and voice mails that I need to return. It’s been really hard to find time to reach out to all of you with my steady chaotic schedule here at Craig.I’m still promising to touch base with you all as soon as my schedule allows.Like I said your love and support means everything to me I still have a long road ahead and all of you pouring your energy into me are helping me travel down that road.