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And He’s the Lucky One

Carolyn Luckow with the Lucky Laces Team; dad Rocco Budani, stepfather Jack Lemmerman, her mom Elsie Callahan and Husband Michael Luckow

“The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.” Bret Harte

April 18th, 1993 started out as a beautiful spring day and turned out to be the day that Patrick Budani realized how much in his life he had previously taken for granted. An uninsured driver ran a stop sign and crashed into Patrick’s motorcycle.  Patrick was catapulted under her vehicle and his neck was broken, immediately ending any possibility of Patrick ever walking again and propelling him into his new a life as a quadrapalegic.  Up until that moment  he had been a happy, guitar playing, energetic and athletic 25 year old.

Carolyn Luckow, Patrick’s only sibling, couldn’t bear to watch her brother now have to struggle with everyday things such as cutting his own food, bathing, and all of the fundamentals in day to day living.  Although he needs help with the most basic functions every day, Patrick feels that he is one of the luckier ones. Patrick says, ”I spent 3 months in rehab and an additional 9 months in out-patient treatment with people who were more fortunate than I, and those who made me look like the lucky one.  And what I mean by lucky is that I did not need a ventilator to survive.”  Since the accident, Carolyn has witnessed the way other people now treat him. It pains her to watch as people either avoid his gaze or  stumble over how to talk to him, for whatever reason his wheelchair throws people off balance and they don’t know how to react.

Carolyn is a strong woman and she is focusing that strength on her charitable Foundation, Lucky Laces, which is dedicated to helping her brother and others who have been victims of spinal cord injury. She came up with the idea for Lucky Laces while she watched her boys run on the fields and play sports with their teams.  She knows only too well how fast these simple pleasures can come to a screeching halt.  Lucky Laces are cloth sports bracelets with sayings for each sport. For example, I dance for those who can’t or I play lacrosse for those who can’t.  Carolyn sells her laces online and  locally at shops such as Value Drugs and Lacrosse Unlimited in Huntington Village.  The kids love them and they make fantastic goody bag prizes. There are many really good charities devoted to spinal cord research Carolyn says, but she has seen how difficult the day to day life is for her brother.   Lucky Laces is dedicated to raising money that can help purchase supplies for  people with spinal cord injuries that will improve their daily quality of life.

Recently her brother was in his specially equipped car down at Mill Dam Park in Huntington after work listening to a book on tape.   He turned on the car to drive home when the car malfunctioned and caught on fire. It was so sudden that Patrick was unable to get out. Coincidentally the Huntington Hospital bus was passing by on its daily route when a passenger David Karen saw the smoke and rushed to Patrick’s rescue.  He pulled Patrick from the burning car as the bus driver, Rich Ruggiero, reached back in to save Patrick’s wheelchair.

Carolyn and her family are holding a benefit to provide Patrick with the very expensive handicapped equipped van that he lost in the fire so he can have a degree of independence.  On Thursday, May 13 from 6:30-11:00pm The Testaverde Fund for Spinal Cord Injury, Inc. & Lucky Laces Spinal Cord Injury Foundation will be hosting a fun evening complete with a full open bar, elegant buffet, dancing and casino night. You can try your luck and support a worthy cause at the same time. This event will be at Woodbury Country Club, 884 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 11797. Tickets are $95 Per Person • $900 Table of Ten Includes $100 of Chips Per Person

Please call or email Carolyn for tickets and questions at 631.455.5507 or info@luckylaces.org.

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