I am constantly in awe of David’s kindness, patience, persistence, enthusiasm and dedication to many causes. He is always thinking of others above himself. David was the founding member of VEDA’s Ambassador Board, which would never have taken off without his leadership. He participates in VEDA’s Patient Education and Support Group Committees, leads a vestibular support group in Maine, and has recently started leading an online support group. He is also the facilitator of a Facebook group that lends support to vestibular patients all over the world. David was one of the key members of a group of patients who are petitioning the World Health Organization for increased awareness around vestibular disorders. He is also a volunteer for the American Heart Association, and was recently recognized at one of their galas. David and his family have hosted information tables at several health fairs, most recently an event called, “What Women Want,” where he had a booth to promote specific ways women can advocate for their own healthcare. David lost his livelihood due to a medical mistake, but he has turned his misfortune around and dedicated his life to helping others.
David’s personal mission is to make sure no vestibular patient suffers alone. In addition to leading support groups and participating on teams that develop patient educational materials, David calls newly diagnosed patients personally to offer them words of hope. David is also working on improving the medical system by helping Dr. David Newman-Toker, a neurologist with Johns Hopkins University, as he studies diagnostic error in the emergency room, specifically vestibular disorders and stroke.
David is an inspiration to the vestibular community. He supports hundreds of vestibular patients through individual peer counseling; leads an in-person and online support group; facilitates VEDA's online member forum and a Facebook group (which has grown from <100 to > 5,500 members under his leadership); and lends his experience as a patient to improve patient educational materials and medical systems that will help millions. Besides his dogged dedication to helping others, David's best quality is his upbeat attitude and enthusiasm.
David is such a caring and compassionate person, always willing to lend a hand, selfless and hard-working, in a word, amazing! He suffers from a debilitating disorder that has left him permanently disabled, but he works tirelessly to support other vestibular patients on their journey back to balance.
VEDA would like to launch a new program to provide seed grants for vestibular research. This donation could fund ten $5,000 grants, which would help reduce the time it takes to diagnose patients with vestibular dysfunction and improve their treatment outcomes.
“David puts his heart into everything he does,” says Cheryl, his wife of 36 ½ years. Cheryl is a Disney fan. Just before his stroke David was going to take her to Disney World for her birthday, but the trip was cancelled because David couldn’t travel. Three years later, David brought Cheryl and their whole family to the magical world of make believe. David still struggles with his balance, so he had to use a wheelchair during the visit, but insisted on taking a picture of himself standing to motivate others to do something they didn’t think they would be able to do.