Creating Community

One of the most devastating and long-lasting results of a spinal cord injury (SCI) is isolation—both for SCI individuals and their caregivers. As a result, those with SCIs and their support network often report dealing with depression. And it’s often difficult to find people going through the same challenges, who can relate to both the day-to-day struggles and the little triumphs along the way.

The Ryan Shazier Fund recognizes the importance of community building. We strive to hold events throughout the year that are not only informative but also fun. See our monthly events calendar. You can also check out our private Facebook Groups, The Ryan Shazier Fund Family and The Ryan Shazier Fund Caregivers Portal where you can be part of an active community that strives to exchange ideas that lead to increased independence.

Run for the
Black And Gold

Our signature fundraising event takes place on May 18, 2024 at Acrisure Stadium. Last year’s party was named one of the best events in the city. The mock horse racing event (think of the Kentucky Derby with a yinzer flair) features celebrity “jockeys,” including current and former Steelers such as Cameron Heyward, Mel Blount, Santonio Holmes, and Joey Porter. It also features great food, music, a live auction, and the chance to bet on the celebrity race (last year’s winners split a pot of more than $100,000).

SCI Funfest

Another opportunity for SCI families to gather and connect, this event scheduled for August 26, 2023, features music, food, and entertainment for the whole family. We’ll have fun crafts including tie-dying. There will be Karaoke with Sing Sing Sing and pizza compliments of Caliente Pizza & Drafthouse.

Woodlands Retreats

Through a partnership with the Woodlands Foundation, the Fund holds three immersive retreats at a fully accessible campsite just outside of Pittsburgh. The retreats give SCI individuals and families an opportunity to participate in recreational activities, work with trained counselors and connect with other families. Participants enjoy adaptive golf, swimming, and handcycling exercises, and caregivers are given time to convene with one another to discuss their daily challenges, hopes and achievements. The next retreat is scheduled for Spring 2024.