Don’t Underestimate this Poker Face

by Wendy Crawford
Jillian Orrick
When one thinks of a experienced poker player, one doesn’t think of a young 27-year-old woman using a power wheelchair. It’s precisely that preconceived notion that Jillian Orrick banks on when she pulls up to the poker table.

Jillian sustained a C2 spinal cord injury from a car accident when she 19 months old, leaving her a quadriplegic.  Growing up in Middletown, NJ, she started playing poker when she was only in the single digits. Jillian’s nurse taught her how to play blackjack and “5 card” poker to get her mind off of how sick she was during the day. When she went away to college, her physical therapist taught her how to play “Texas Hold’em.”  During the rest of her college years, Jillian played for fun at least once a month at different people’s houses, all the while learning many poker skills. Jillian graduated from the University of Miami with a BBA, majoring in marketing and management, with an undying passion for poker!

Jillian Orrick interviews Jillian:

MW:  For those unfamiliar with the C2 level of the spine, could you please explain your injury level? What can you do independently? What do you need help with?
JO: A C2 level means that I have no feeling from the neck down. I can feel pressure/pain in my stomach and my back. I can move my head and have full brain function. Everything else in my daily life I need assistance with, from my 24-hour RN’s, family, and friends. The rare aspect of my injury is that I can breathe on my own without the assistance of a respirator.  It’s very difficult to sleep without a respirator, though, so I am on a Bi-pap machine, which gives me minimal help.

Heels with Wheels: Perfect Combination of Fashion and Function

by Cheryl Price
Angela Irick wearing "Summer Sky" top. Photo: Paper Moon Photography/Charlie Gill

When Angela Irick was a young girl living in Houston, Texas, she never paid much attention to shopping. Whether she wanted to buy a new pair of jeans, a dress for a dance or the latest trend that everyone in school was talking about, Angela’s friends were the ones to pick out what worked best for her. As she admits, “Fashion was not my number one priority." 

Then at the age of 14, Angela’s life took a dramatic shift. She was involved in what was considered a “fender bender,” until Angela was discovered gasping for air in the back seat of the car. She was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and, shortly thereafter, was diagnosed as a C1-C2, vent-dependent quadriplegic. Initially, Angela was told that she would never eat, speak, or hold her head up on her own, but she proved them wrong. Now 28 years old, after regaining movement and sensation below her level of injury, Angela is considered an incomplete injury. 

Coming out of rehab and trying to assimilate back into one’s ‘prior’ life is never easy, and Angela had to do so as a teenager, a time that’s challenging without a new disability. While her friends were talking about boys and which pair of jeans to wear to school tomorrow, Angela was trying to come to terms with how to live her life and keep up with her friends. Little by little, Angela learned how to handle her daily-living challenges. Life went on for Angela, albeit on a different path than she expected. 

Featured mobileWOMAN -- Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a powerful, internationally known speaker, trainer, consultant, writer, and publisher who walks her talk. On June 13, 1998 Rossetti’s life was transformed when a 3 1/2 ton tree came crushing down on her. Her life was changed in that instant! Paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury, Rossetti looked deep within herself and found new strength and new resolve. In her keynote speeches, she shares the lessons she has learned since that fateful day, and demonstrates how to rise above misfortune and live life with conviction.

Rossetti’s program “Just Like Riding A Bike: Coping with Change and Dealing with Adversity” is a transformational experience. Rossetti uses the lessons that she learned during her recovery to empower participants. She focuses on what motivates people to change their behavior, awaken their inner gifts, find meaning in their lives, and accomplish more to bring out the best in themselves. As a result of this program, participants will be revitalized and recharged. They will leave with restored hope, happiness and an improved vision of their future. Rossetti helps people achieve goals and take charge of their lives. She brings a positive attitude to life that touches all who hear her, with an emotive speaking style that makes audiences fall in love with her and rally to her message.

Using the lessons that she learned while rebuilding her business, she developed “Can Your Business Survive a Crisis? Practical Tips for Limiting Losses and Bouncing Back”. This program shows business owners how to limit risks and avoid losses, ensuring the continuity and vitality of a business during and after a crisis.