Adult Quadriplegia


United States

Andrea became a C1-C2 quadriplegic following an automobile accident in September 1990. Soon after, she was transferred to the care of Dr. Edward Carter at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston, Texas.

She was implanted with her breathing pacemaker by Dr. Laurens Pickard at TIRR in April 1991, and has been pacing 12-14 hours per day ever since.

Through the use of her pacers, Andrea was able to attend college and has received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She is currently working as a mental health counselor.

Andrea states “The breathing pacemaker system has made a dramatic difference in my everyday life and would not hesitate to do it again!”


United States

Chuck became a C2-C3 quadriplegic in a shooting accident in 1981. He was just 15 years old. Chuck spent the next year of his life at Yale New Haven Hospital under the care of Dr. William Glenn. When Chuck finally returned home on April 1, 1982, he was pacing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thirty years later, he is still pacing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

With the independence gained from his breathing pacemaker, Chuck completed high school and a data processing course at a local college. He is currently employed as a Programmer/Analyst at a Fortune 500 life insurance company.

Chuck states “I’m very content with my life right now. I have a loving wife, a nice, comfortable home, a great career and a wonderfully supportive family. God has blessed me in many ways.”


United States

Ed was injured in a motorcycle accident in June 2008. Although initially off mechanical ventilation, Ed had a number of setbacks including pneumonia and a blood infection. He was finally discharged home in August 2009, but he required 24/7 ventilatory support.

After exploring his options with a number of surgeons, Ed decided to have an Avery breathing pacemaker implanted because he was uncomfortable with the idea of having permanent percutaneous wires. Ed’s implant took place in December 2009 and he began pacing in January 2010. He has been pacing for 24 hours per day since May 2010.

According to his wife Johanna, pacing has given Ed the ability to enjoy being outdoors again and socialize without the concerns of his vent. Ed has started an aggressive speech therapy program as well as physical and occupational therapy. Pacing has also allowed him to resume use of his power wheelchair; giving him back the control he so desperately wanted.



At the age of 17, Debbie became a C1-C2 quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident. In 1973, after living for over a year in an intensive care unit tethered to a mechanical ventilator, she became one of the first patients ever to be implanted with a breathing pacemaker.

Through use of her pacers, Debbie proved she was able to live independently and eventually had her tracheostomy removed. She was an accomplished mouth-painter, and in 1985, was nominated by New York City mayor Edward I. Koch for the “Young Woman of Distinction Award.”

Debbie was an early adopter of assistive technology. She was computer literate and even operated a sailboat using a “Sip-N-Puff” control. Debbie became a lifelong advocate for the disabled appearing on many local and national television programs as well as speaking at schools and other civic organizations.

Sadly, she lost her battle with breast cancer in November 2005. In her memory, ABD has established The Debbie Donald Memorial Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organziation.



Giuseppe was the commander of the police department in Felino, Italy when he became a high quadriplegic in a traffic accident in February 1999. He remained in a coma for 40 days, and it took several more weeks for him to become fully cognizant of his accident.

Giuseppe developed a passion for all things technological which could help him be as independent as possible including a powered wheelchair he could control, mobile computing and his breathing pacemaker which he received in January 2000.

Though he truly misses his career as a police officer, Giuseppe works occasionally for the company which supplied his wheelchair and passes the time “living as an ordinary person” attending concerts and dining with friends.


United Kingdom

In 1998, Jamie was a professional cricket player with the Yorkshire County Cricket Club. While attending a tournament in Cape Town, South Africa, he was involved in automobile accident which left him a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic.

Upon his return to the U.K., Jamie was cared for at the Yorkshire Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Pinderfields Hospital. He was implanted with his breathing pacemaker in February 1999 and paces 24 hours per day.

Jamie states “Now I am really getting on with my life — watching cricket, coaching adults and children and enjoying regular holidays abroad. Without the pacer, I would not be able to do any of these things…It’s the best thing I have ever done.”


United States

In 1980, at the age of 19, Brodie became a C2-C3 quadriplegic following a trampoline accident in college. He was implanted with a breathing pacemaker approximately four months later at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California.

Brodie has been pacing since 1982, including a period of continuous pacing lasting over 23 years. He requested his tracheostomy be closed in 1983. According to Brodie, people he meets never know he is ventilator dependent.

Brodie returned to college and went on to obtain a master’s degree in Education. He has taken many plane trips, gone camping in Yosemite and has been in helicopters, a cruise ship and a hot air balloon.

He states “All of this has been much easier with the pacers…much of it has been possible only with the pacers. Because of them, I am healthier, safer, much more comfortable socially, physically and professionally, and able to have an active, somewhat normal life.”