Supporters join Justin Cochran for golf and barbecue

Emily Bock assists as Justin Cochran addresses the crowd

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Emily Bock assists as Justin Cochran addresses the crowd

This June, Egwani Farm Golf Course in Rockford hosted the fifth-annual Justin Cochran Spinal Cord Injury Foundation golf tournament to raise money for Justin Cochran, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury several years ago. This year’s tournament benefited the NTAF Southeast Spinal Cord Injury Fund, which will help pay Justin’s medical and living expenses.

The tournament offered hole-in-one prizes, including a new car, a Bose wave music system, golf equipment, and more. The first, second and third place teams received cash prizes, along with drive and closest to the pin competitions, and all players were given participation gifts. A silent auction, a catered lunch from Buddy’s Barbecue, and an awards ceremony supplemented the morning’s golf game.

Justin Cochran was injured in 2004 while attempting to do a back handspring for his cousins at a family reunion. He suffered spinal fracture which paralyzed him from the neck down and made him dependent on a ventilator. Cochran was unable to attend last year’s golf tournament because of a medical complication, but was present at this year’s event.

Cochran, who has family in Blount County, has been active since his accident, and has been able to continue his college education as well as pursue such activities as skydiving, hang-gliding and parasailing.

Cochran has also been politically active, speaking to the Georgia Legislature on behalf of disabled people. He also serves on the Distribution and Public Policy Committee of the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund, and he frequently visits newly injured patients at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where he continues to receive rehabilitation, to give them hope and inspiration. He is also involved in Partners in Policymaking, an advocacy group for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Formed several years ago, the foundation that bears Justin Cochran’s name is dedicated to helping educate, encourage and inspire those affected by spinal cord injuries by providing information and resources to aid spinal cord injury survivors, their family and caregivers on how to live a healthy and active lifestyle after an injury. They provide such services as evaluating wheelchair accessibility on hiking trails and gas stations.

Through the foundation, the Cochran family would one day like to build a facility in Knoxville to act as a transitional home for people who have suffered spinal cord injuries, where they can receive rehabilitation services and learn to adapt to their situations.

The yearly Justin Cochran Spinal Cord Injury Foundation golf tournament is one of the foundation’s largest fundraisers. To find out more about the foundation, contact JCSCI Foundation, Inc., P.O.Box 32654, Knoxville, TN 37930 or via email at info@jcscifoundation.org.

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