STAY IN STEP
STAY IN STEP IS A 501 (C) (3), NOT FOR PROFIT RECOVERY CENTER DESIGNED TO PROVIDE STATE-OF-THE-ART RECOVERY AND THERAPY TO SPINAL CORD INJURY (SCI), TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI), AND PARALYSIS CLIENTS IN TAMPA BAY AND SURROUNDING AREAS.
We serve a wide range of clients including active military, veterans, and civilians. Our mission is to provide our clients with a step forward toward recovery through world-class rehabilitation and collaboration. Our program is modeled after the Activity Based Exercise and Therapy principles (ABE&T), which utilizes the body’s natural movement and body weight as stimulus. We exist only to serve a segment of the population that is marginalized or overlooked by traditional medicine and our current healthcare system. Not only do we have state-of-the-art equipment, we have trainers who are passionate about working with clients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries and who are creative in using the equipment in innovative ways to achieve remarkable results.
CWO3 (Ret.) Romy Camargo, Founder of Stay In Step, is a US Army Green Beret who, while on a humanitarian mission during his third tour to Afghanistan, suffered a critical gunshot wound to the back of the neck shattering his C3 vertebra. With his wife, Gabby by his side, Romy endured a number of surgeries only to find out that he was paralyzed from the trapezius muscles and below. For many, it would have been a diagnosis of despair but, for the Camargo’s it began a journey of hope and inspiration. As the primary caregiver for her husband, Gabby learned all that she could about spinal cord injuries and rehabilitation. Gabby and Romy would travel to Orlando which was the nearest facility up to 5 days per week fighting traffic on I-4 making a 2-hour therapy session an all-day event. It was the Camargo’s dream to open a center in Tampa that was open to the public as well as veterans, would assist with subsidizing the cost burdens for clients and would include the client’s family in the therapy and recovery process. On June 20 2015, Stay in Step was founded, a unique organization doing fantastic work providing long-term, subsidized cost, SCI/TBI rehabilitation for civilians and veterans in Tampa Bay, Florida
Romy’s story was featured on the History channel’s, The Warfighters – Season 1, Episode 7, The Green Berets of 7115, which aired on November 11, 2016. You can watch this incredible story at http://www.history.com/shows/the-warfighters
Stay In Step’s 4500-sq. ft. recovery center features state-of-the-art equipment, such as the RT 600 and the RT 300, from Restorative Therapies, an industry leading researcher and manufacturer of some of the most innovative and technologically advanced rehabilitation using electrical stimulation of the muscles to complete the mobility therapy. It is remarkable to see patients on elliptical trainers and hand bikes that are paralyzed.
The objectives of the Stay In Step Recovery Program are to:
1. Reduce client incidence of medical complications and hospitalizations due to SCI and TBI.
2. Improve the overall health and wellness of clients.
3. Improve client quality of life.
4. Keep the family unit together during the therapy.
5. Offer a supportive and encouraging environment supporting them physically, emotionally, and socially.
According to a 2016 Report by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center: “About 30% of persons with SCI are re-hospitalized one or more times during any given year following injury. Among those re-hospitalized, the length of hospital stays averages 22 days.” The leading causes of hospitalization are diseases of the genitourinary system and diseases of the skin. The Stay In Step Program focuses on preventing and in many cases reversing the deterioration that results from the lack of sustained physical activity and causes these diseases thereby improving overall health and wellness and reducing diseases and re-hospitalizations. This not only results in a better quality of life for clients but reduces the emotional and financial burden on families and caregivers.
Stay In Step clients’ rehabilitation therapy is complex, and there is set up involved for each mobility exercise. Each program is individually tailored to the patient and with as many as three trainers and one physical therapist, the average therapy session is 2-3 hours in length. The staff is passionate, creative, and knowledgeable about how to use the equipment in unique ways to keep the rehabilitation exciting. Stay In Step also has a children’s playroom and a family room where families may relax while their loved ones are in therapy. Stay In Step offers clients and their families a long-term, subsidized-cost, physical therapy program combined with a close-knit support group and mental strength training on their path to recovery.
This therapy dramatically improves clients’ quality of life and, in many cases, extends their life expectancy. We encourage you to take a moment to look at the Stay In Step website (https://stayinstep.org) to see what Romy, together with the unwavering support of his wife, Gabby, has built to fill an unmet need and provide an invaluable service to the Tampa Bay community. Since opening our doors in June of 2015, we have been blessed and grateful to have been able to treat over 120 clients and provide over $300,000 in subsidized therapy. Stay In Step relies on the generous contributions of both corporate and private donors.