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The podcast feeding the movement to cure paralysis

Your Voice Here - part 1 (Episode 99)

Guests: Leanne Rees, Jason Biundo, Scott Chesney

Today we are bringing you part 1 of the “Your Voice Here” series. This collection of interviews was recorded during U2FP’s 2023 Science and Advocacy Symposium in Minneapolis. In this episode, you’ll hear from Physical Therapist, PhD and Researcher, Leanne Rees; Neuroscience student Jason Biundo; and Motivational speaker and Onward Marketing Consultant, Scott Chesney.

We cover a variety of topics in this episode, among them: Leanne’s research on the media portrayal of SCI; how Jason’s climbing accident focused his interest in neuroscience to spinal cord injury research translation; and Scott’s wisdom from 38 years of lived experience with an SCI.  

In the way of topic warning, we do briefly discuss suicidal ideation in our third conversation with Scott, if that is something you would prefer to avoid. I hope you enjoy hearing these conversations as much as I enjoyed being a part of them.

As always, please share your thoughts with us via email at Thanks for listening! 

Listen on: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Soundcloud

Bumper music: Dig a Hole by Freaque

Guest Bios

Leanne Rees has worked as a physiotherapist in spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation for nearly twenty years in Melbourne, Australia. In 2018, she completed a Master of Public Health, and gained interest in social and environmental factors that inform experiences of people with SCI. In 2023 Leanne completed a PhD investigating the representation, creation, and impact of SCI in Australian news media. Today, Leanne holds a post-doctoral fellowship with Novo Nordisk Foundation, Centre for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW Melbourne, based at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Here Leanne is investigating how health care professionals navigate hope offered by unproven therapies in the online age.

Learn more and connect with Leanne Rees here:

Scott Chesney is a world-renowned motivational speaker and life coach who has presented to over 1.6 million people in 43 countries. Known as “The Commander in Change,” by his clients, Scott has been a navigator of life with paralysis for nearly 37 years after awakening to paralysis at the age of 15 from a sudden spinal stroke. Scott has amassed a resume of transformational experiences, powerful insights, and inspiring stories that cut to the core of the human spirit.

He has become a nationally and internationally recognized workshop and keynote presenter, and his positive and inspiring messages have changed countless lives. His insights have been coveted and applauded by The United Nations, The Pentagon, The FBI, Fortune 500 corporations, sports teams, hospitals/rehab centers, associations, and K-12 schools.

Learn more and connect with Scott Chesney here:

Jason Biundo obtained a dual degree in Neuroscience and Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he completed his Honors thesis developing new technologies for use in neuroscience research. In October 2019, Jason’s life was forever altered when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury as a result of a rock climbing accident. The accident resulted in a T-12 incomplete injury and nearly complete paralysis below the waist. After months of recovery, Jason returned to UMass to complete his degree and managed to graduate on time. He has since transitioned his research interests to the SCI field and has been working in Zhigang He’s lab at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Jason is a strong advocate for the SCI community to be involved in the research process and has used his own personal experience to provide feedback and recommendations for research and other projects. He currently serves on the Project Review Committee at NASCIC, and recently published a paper titled “Promoting Community Engagement in Spinal Cord Injury Research” in the journal Spinal Cord. Jason will soon start graduate school for a PhD in Neuroscience.

Learn more and connect with Jason Biundo here:

Further Reading