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By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At nineteen, Lauren DeBruicker’s life took a tragic turn.

“I grew up in the Philadelphia area.  This has been home for most of my life,” she says.  “I went to college out in California, and was driving back out to school for my sophomore year when I was injured in a car accident.   I broke my neck and so I’m  a quadriplegic.”

DeBruicker is now a partner at the law firm Duane Morris, and has just been elected to be the new chair of the board of directors of Inglis, making her the first board chair in its 136-year history who is a wheelchair user.

“Our biggest goal at Inglis is to help people with disabilities live with the greatest amount of independence and live life according to their choosing,” she tells Positively Philadelphia.  “Your physical abilities should really not be a limitation.  (We) Figure out how technology can help people live independently at home, help them get greater access to the online world.  In our computer program we say, ‘If you can move an eyeball, we can get you onto the Internet.’ ”

As for herself…

“Trackball instead of a mouse to use my computer.  I’m also using more touchscreen stuff now, because that’s much more easy for me to use as someone who doesn’t have a lot of movement in their fingers — or any movement in my fingers.   It could be as low-tech as the things that prop up my desk so that my wheelchair can get under it a little bit easier.  I have been known to use cans of tuna fish for that because they’re about the right height and they’re sturdy, and you can get them anywhere.”

Hear the expanded interview with Lauren DeBruicker in this CBS Philly podcast (runs 6:36)…

If you need help or want to help, go to www.inglis.org.

And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

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