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Live Each Day

Reprinted from PN July 2002

The chance to share life's hardships, tears, and triumphs is invaluable.

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A three-week trip to Greece and Italy in 1995 was a dream come true for George Pericharos. "We are creative and resourceful in our travels in order to meet all the unexpected problems that can occur with quadriplegia," says his wife and partner, Rae.

"I want to share my story with all the other caregivers who dearly love their spouses, sons, daughters, parents, and others," says Rae Marie Pericharos.

Rae's husband George was born in Athens, Greece. In 1947, he moved to New York as a toddler with his parents. His father fought for Greece in World War II and was in a prisoner-of-war camp in Greece for six weeks. George's parents brought him to America to give him a better life. He didn't speak English until he was 7 years old. He was the only one in his family to graduate from high school. He attended trade school to become a mechanic and also worked in the family restaurant.

In 1966, several months after he turned 21, George was drafted by the U.S. Army and served 18 months at Camp Stanley, Korea, in the DMZ [demilitarized zone]. He spent his last six months of service stateside in an honor guard in the South. George moved to Colorado in 1975 to get away from the busy city of New York and to indulge in mountaineering and the outdoors. In 1976, he met with an unfortunate accident when his Ford Bronco rolled while he was out with friends. He sustained a C5-6 cervical fracture resulting in complete quadriplegia and spent six months in rehab learning to remaster the very basics of his own care.

In the July PN/Paraplegia News, you can read Rae's story about how she and George met, married, and embarked on the great adventure known as "life"together. She talks frankly about the challenges of living and aging with a disability.

Rae Pericharos has a master's degree and is a family nurse practitioner. She and George live near Denver. "We have two wonderful golden retrievers whose love and antics can lighten even the most difficult moments," she says.

 

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