Kelley Goddu is not one to let an obstacle get in the way of her dreams. Almost eight years after her spinal cord injury (SCI), she is working toward a Bachelor’s degree from Keene State College, where she attends classes twice a week as an architecture major. She also travels to Canton, MA, for physical therapy twice a week, and is involved in a bone density clinical trial through Spaulding Rehab Center, based in Cambridge MA.
Even with her busy schedule, Kelley is anticipating her graduation next spring, after which she is hoping to use her degree in architecture to help influence the world to be more wheelchair-friendly. Kelley has always been interested in studying design, but now sees that she can ‘serve a greater purpose’ for SCI survivors and others who are in wheelchairs.
“I’ve been interested in design for so long,” she says. “One of the positives that have come out of my accident is that, instead of making a residential or commercial environment pretty, I can focus more on making it functional.”
Kelley says she was really grateful to receive a grant from the Travis Roy Foundation for her to purchase a computer that has adaptive equipment to accommodate her limited hand function. With her new computer, she has the architecture design program and software that she needs to keep up with her classes, which she wouldn’t have been able to do without the help of the TRF.
Kelley first learned about Travis when she spent time at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA after her injury when she was given Travis’ book Eleven Seconds to read. “I was just trying to work on my arm function at that point, so I was really excited to just turn the pages and independently read.” Later, she met Travis at a Shepherd Center alumni event in Boston. “He is so optimistic about everything and really, genuinely nice to everyone,” she says. “He was a breath of fresh air! The cool thing is that the SCI population is a small community. Most accidents happen at a young age, and it affects people at the beginning of their life. They have to reevaluate things and get back up on their feet.”
Kelley feels lucky to have had the support of the TRF from the beginning, and a grant that will help her move forward.