Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from Joe and Rosanna DeVere!!

It’s been a great year! We have done over 10 ski trips many trips during summer. Mammoth was open till July 4th and we took full advantage of that.  My health has stabilized with MS and the frequent UTI’s. Rosanna is still working at the Westlake Pet Motel and loves being covered in critters! We celebrated our 9th anniversary on the Mountain in June. The big 10 is coming up this year in 2012 and we love each other more each day. Rosanna’s birthdays is on Christmas and get to spoil her on her special day. We have some exciting plans for the Threus Foundation. We expanded our reach to Colorado and made any disability available to participate with us. We are thankful for all of our friends and family who supported our efforts and wish each of you a most wonderful holiday season. Consider a donation for our cause here: And check out the video we made!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Breaking the Barriers

Breaking the Barriers
Yesterday, was a birthday I never thought I'd have. I had accident on August 2, 2005 that shattered my spinal cord. Previous to my injury, I had a psychotic break. I long suffered with depression due to my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. My world was falling apart.

With the help of a good friend, Richard Miller, who turned me on to Jesus. I was desperate and thinking to end my life. I was hallucinating that demons were out for soul caused by a side effects from multiple medications for MS.
This happened 20 minutes before I drove my truck off a 200 foot cliff. I was lost and searching for something more. I drove off the cliff committing my life to God since I was no use to him alive. I believe that God spared my life. So here is a question. Why? Why did he spare my life? What have you done with this life since the accident?
 I had an appointment with my MS Doctor and asked him a simple question. “What is my prognosis?” With over 30 years’ experience treating MS patients he said something you never hear from a Doctor “I don't know, it’s MS” This answer transformed my life.
 So there I was, in a wheelchair with no hope with my prognosis. I took it as an E ticket to ride. MS is a disease of the central nervous system that is progressive in nature. My wife and I set out to do this many adventures as I could, while I could. If I only have a limited time available I had to just go for it!
 Adaptive skiing at Mountain High was my first adventure that came with the revelation “If you're a wheelchair, you should be able to try adaptive skiing and no charge”. The Threus Foundation was conceived.

I continued kayaking, surf kayaking, surfing , Whitewater rafting and swimming with dolphins. I have a long history of seeking adventure sports before my accident and now I have a reputation as a wheelchair adventurer. Through my experiences, I learned that you only have to have the desire to do something spectacular, to achieve it .The biggest disability is in the mind. The desire is paramount. If you want to do something, just do it. You have to want to do it.
The foundation is with Jesus. He spared my life.  I take time out of my day to learn about him. I got baptized Feb. 6th 2011. I am a little slow and it took some time to put those pieces together, I didn’t realize I had an amazing testimony till one day while I was watching TBN.  Jesus became real for me. I have the understanding that what you put in the mind, comes out of the mind. Positive in, positive out. TBN offers the good, in a corrupt world.
I learned biblical principles and who I am in Jesus, as a son of God. I am an overcomer and bright light in the dark world. I learned faith, that I never had before. I learned about spiritual provision, that Jesus supplies all our needs. I lost the fear of death because I know Jesus prepares a place for us.
I learned there is a positive and a negative. God is the ultimate in the positive realm and if you can believe that the positive can culminate as the spirit of God then it is not so hard to believe that the negative or evil can culminate as Satan, the deceiver.
Jesus came to set us free, forgive all our sins and make a way for us. Disabled or not. I am so grateful for my life, my wife and mother, So what is your barrier? I would love to help you break free!!! 805-760-6361 for a free consultation with a man who has been there.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

6 Years Today Honoring God For Saving My Life

Greetings, my name is Joseph DeVere and I am an urbanized Cherokee Indian on my mother’s side. There is very little documentation, history or talk about being part Native American. So I spent several years learning about my roots and I’m also a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, Graduate of the  Coast Guard’s basic coxswain course at the prestigious National Motor Lifeboat School at the mouth of the Columbia River, called “The Graveyard of the Pacific” and recipient of the “Junior Enlisted of the Year” in 1994 by the Navy League of Northern California.  Recipient of the “Citizens Medal of Merit” by the Peace Officers Association of Ventura County for rescuing 2 swimmers that got swept out by a rip current. I was a volunteer white water rafting guide for Friends of the River, PADI Dive master and devoted surfer. I am also the Founder and President of the 501©3 organization, the Threus Foundation which serves the disabled community in the San Fernando Valley with adventure sports as a form of therapy for the newly injured. I have a spinal cord injury (SCI) at the T12-L2 level considered incomplete from an accident I will tell you about briefly and am diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which has affected me with levels of disabilities at all 4 limbs. Essentially qualifying as an incomplete quadriplegic.
In 2002, I received medical diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis. This occurred after I put together a wedding with Rosanna Hersh and acquired a great new job with Royce Medical. We were shocked when we got the news. The only thing the doctors could offer was disease modifying drugs filled with side effects that gives you a perpetual sick feeling. I believed in God but wondered, Why me? Then we got the news that MS could be exacerbated by heat and stress, I was devastated. I was very hard headed and willful destroying my relationships with others. I was exposed to high stress at my job and would have attacks every three months on the nose. I tried 5 different disease modifying medications with very severe side effects and were ultimately ineffective.
 Slowly, I in addition to my body, my life would deteriorate. I lost friends, hope and eventually lost my job. I suffered a psychotic break due to side effects from the medications I was taking that didn’t work. I started hallucinating that my life’s transgressions were displayed on my TV. I was receiving instructions from the TV to go to the LA Airport. I also hallucinated that demons were gathering up souls on the street I lived on. I called my friend Rick and explained what was going on in my head. He said I needed Jesus and took me through the sinner’s prayer and directed me to the book John. I was overwhelmed and broken down. There was no hope. No inspiration. No thought to a better future. The demons convinced me that if I kept going down this road, it would lead me into the hands of the enemy. Serving by his side for darkness and that was not an option. I belong to God. I got in my truck with the purpose to end my life and commit myself into God’s hands. I took off my seatbelt and found the steepest cliff that I could. I then got some serious air as I went off the cliff. I lost consciousness as I flew down 200 feet.

I woke up two hours later at the bottom of the canyon unable to move my legs. Realizing the severity of what I just did I cried out to God for help! A voice returned saying “Hang in there we will be right down.” A rescue crew was preparing to extract a body but I think Jesus had another idea. I was flown to Northridge Hospital with a fractured spinal cord from T12-L2 vertebrae. I underwent spinal surgery and had a miraculous recovery. After 9 months of rehab I was walking with a cane. I felt incredibly blessed by God, but I didn’t put the Jesus factor together till years later.
While walking with the cane I developed a urinary tract infection that triggered the most severe MS attack I ever had. It put me back in the hospital where I lost the ability to walk again. I spent another 3 months in recovery but was yet to walk again. During a doctor visit, I asked my neurologist “What my prognosis was?” With over 30 years’ experience of treating MS patients within the VA system; he gave us the obvious answer “I don’t know, it’s MS.” Knowing the progressive nature of MS and not knowing when or how severe the next attack will be, I took it as an E-Ticket to ride. Rosanna and I wanted to do everything I could from a wheelchair that I could.  Our first adventure would be adaptive snow skiing, then adaptive surfing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and surf kayaking. We formed a non-profit called the Threus Foundation, when we set the goal to do the three S’s, Adaptive skiing, surfing and skydiving. Our organization is now a 501©3 with the IRS legitimizing our efforts.

When I realized that I survived the accident after praying to Jesus, I thought I would open my mind to his ideas and learn about salvation and his sacrifice. I turned on TBN and read my bible to learn everything I could about Jesus. I discovered hope and freedom during my initial exploration. Jesus gave me a reason to live. It wasn’t a coincidence that my life was spared after accepting Jesus Christ. He has a special purpose for my life as he has for all of you. I learned that God loves all of us in a very real, special way. He gave us his son Jesus Christ to give his life so that we might be saved and have an intimate relationship with him.
Matthew 19:26
New International Version (NIV)
 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
With much respect,
Joseph DeVere

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Anniversary of my Accident

As we close in on my anniversary of our accident, I feel happy and lucky to be alive. I looked back with fond memories for the adventures that we undertook. I look back six years ago and remember my state of helplessness and despair. Ready to take my own life, Jesus had another idea. After plummeting 200 feet in my vehicle with the purpose of ending my life, I survived miraculously, when I surrendered to Jesus 20 min. before. It was evident to me that God had a purpose for my life. After the surgery on my spinal cord, I was put in to rehabilitation. I was put in the world of the wheelchair, as I went to groups sponsored by the hospital. I learned that being a wheelchair is not a death sentence. I met Anthony, who holds a full-time job and volunteers with an organization called WYNGS “When you need group support“ he showed me that living a normal life was possible after being put in a wheelchair. Once I learned that, my state of mind and hopelessness was gone. Having MS, my biggest fear was to be a wheelchair but I learned anything is possible. I would eventually restore my ability to walk by New Year's I was walking with the use of the cane, I was ecstatic!
After learning to walk again, disease multiple sclerosis flared up and put me back in a the wheelchair where I sit today wife and I went through hell, hospital to hospital with bladder and kidney infections which would flare-up the MS. It was like I had frequent flyer miles in the hospitals. I had a defining moment at one particular doctor’s appointment where I asked my Dr.”what my prognosis?” having over 30 years’ experience treating patients with MS he politely said that “I didn't know , it's MS” knowing what little I did about MS, an incurable progressive disease. I took it as an E ticket to ride, I decided to live as much life as I could while I still had the ability. I tried adaptive snow skiing, adaptive surfing and white water rafting. My first ski trip, I had a revelation that if you're in a wheelchair you should be able to try snow skiing and no charge. My wife it set a goal to do the 3 S’s; skiing, surfing and skydiving. The Threus Foundation was founded. I continue to learn from other disabled people that the sky's the limit when it comes to life.

Currently, we have helped over a dozen people try adaptive snow skiing in hopes it inspires them as much as I was. In reflection, I ask myself what you have done in the past six years. Who have we helped, inspired and encouraged? I hope to send a message that inspires and encourages others, giving God the glory as he deserves it. None of this would be possible without having God’s hand in it. Today, I live under his grace, love and protection and hope others will find the same through Jesus Christ.

 With much admiration and respect,
Joseph DeVere

Saturday, June 18, 2011

9th Anniversary

Our trip started off very hectic. It was just one thing after another impeding our progress to Mammoth Mountain to celebrate our 9 year anniversary. We endured the 6 hour trip, with several complications and arrived at our destination. Juniper Springs Lodge was an indulgent, luxury suite at the center of Mammoth Lakes with a slopeside lift to the mountain during the winter season. We found their accommodations outstanding but lacking a roll in shower. This was remedied the next morning when the management figured out we were in the wrong room. 

That morning we prepared to get on the slopes and met up with Zachary Irgish and Larry Holmes from Disabled Sportsof the Eastern Sierra (DSES). I always have a careful mindset whenever we face transfers, wheelchair to bi-ski and bi-ski to wheelchair. Bi-ski to lift and lift to bi-ski to the mountain trails called Broadway. This is where trust and faith intersect. With years of whitewater rafting experience, I learned that most accidents happened on shore not in the water I thought the same thing goes for skiing. These guys put forth an astonishing effort to ensure I was safe while helping me with transfers, ensuring lifts were safe and providing instructions down the mountain. We started with Zachary, the lead adaptive level two instructor, by setting a couple goals:

1.       To have an incredibly fun time.

2.       To improve my skills with the bi-ski

Zachary and Larry finally, after transfers and lifts, got me setup to do my first run. Zachary immediately assessed my skills needing to improve my work on keeping my outriggers on the snow to keep balanced and help with my turns. We hit an auspicious bump and caught a little air. It freaked me out a little bit as we finished the run and Zachary called out instructions. 

On the second day, we met Zach, Larry and Thom. We did a run focusing on keeping my riggers on the snow and everything went well until we hit the bottom and tried to load up on the lift. Larry started the count “3, 2, 1, Lift, ,Oh shit! STOP!!” he called to the lift operator. We ended up in the pit and the lift operator stopped the lift. “So this is what it’s like to end up in the pit.” I thought to myself. “No big deal” I thought as they pushed me back up to the lift area and loaded me back up.

On the third day, I absorbed all the teaching tips from Zachary and put them to use on the bi-ski. Larry noticed my improvement saying, “When we started the first day, you kept your outriggers on the snow 50% of time, now, you kept it up to 90% of the time.” Upon completion of the 3 days of skiing we met both goals we began with. With weather that was stellar each day, we finished with a visit to DSES  main office and visited with the staff. We were privileged to do some Threus Foundation business there by sponsoring a woman with Cerebral Palsy, Lisa Marie. Having a foundation to help the disabled ski is such an honor and made the trip worth it.

Our trip was an outstanding success. Good time was had by all. Mad props to Zachary and Larry for their outstanding help and support. I give all the credit for our trip to a loving God, Jesus Christ.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sulpher Mountain Trail Wheelchair Friendly

The day started off with a ride with my precious sister, Marie. We arrived at the location about a half hour late but, my sister said a prayer before she left to pick me up. She prayed asking that “We arrive with perfect timing”. We expected that we would have to catch up with the group, being late.

We arrived when the group encountered a problem with opening the entrance gate. We were greeted by my uncle, Lanny Kaufer, the leader of the walk. After warm greetings from Lanny and his wife Rondia we formed a consensus about carrying me over the gate that blocked my entrance in a wheelchair. The very moment I agreed to let them take me over, a car arrived, leaving the trail and opening the gate for us. Perfect timing.

Having Multiple Sclerosis, The weather was perfect. A gentle drizzle and fog that obscured to view. We began our trek with everyone introducing ourselves, taking a couple rolls; Lanny began his talk pointing out plants to avoid like poison oak.
The terrain was a firm ground covered with gravel. I found in difficult to maneuver yet doable with a little extra effort and a person like my sister to help on hills. Our group was more than willing to take a turn pushing me when I needed help.

I  was extraordinarily impressed with Lanny’s knowledge of our local plants and their uses for food and medicine. He possesses the courage to make his other “Herb Walks” accessible for the disabled  with coordination with the Threus Foundation, and taking the time for consideration of other disabled participants regarding future events. This walk is considered Threus Approved.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

To all the special women in my life called Mother’s

Thank you for all of your attention towards children and your attention toward men like children called Husband. Thank you for putting yourself last when you deserve to be put first. Thank you for bringing light in a dark world and smearing your love all over us. Thank you for being there when we really needed you when our backs were up to the wall. Thank you for sharing your wisdom when we needed to hear your voice.  Thank you for everything!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A day with Ruby!

Ruby, an MD dating my step father, provided me a physical. During our appointment someone entered the office with news the elevator was out. 
The adventure begins: You’re on the second floor of an office building and the elevator stops working, if you are in a wheelchair, what do you do?

The first thing I did was pray for help. Ruby called Gary, my step-father to see if he could help. I waited patiently for him to arrive. My wife, Rosanna left to attend to an errand, and would be back in 30 minutes.
Gary arrived and we started to put a plan together to get me down to the first floor. We first started to see if we could go down the steps forward, with the wheelchair, to determine whether or not Gary could bear the load. I was put in an awkward position, having to lean back, in order for Gary to do a test run. Gary immediately said it was a no-go.

We had to think of another way. We stepped back and formed another plan inside the doctor’s office. Having the ability to stand, I proposed that I would stand at the top as Gary moved the wheel chair to the first platform and I would take steps down to the first balcony. Gary added that he could pick me up , in a fireman’s carry, and carry me if I could stand. Rosanna arrived and offered her assistance.
We tried to do the stand to fireman’s carry and being safety orientated in the U.S. Coast Guard, my body wouldn’t cooperate and had to say no-go. My comfort level was sent way out of whack. Standing and throwing myself face-first over Gary’s shoulder wasn’t going to happen.

Rosanna said we should try going down the stairs backwards now that we have two people to help.
In order for us to do that would have to fight my instincts to lean forward. I have had to many encounters of flipping over backwards to control my instincts to lean back, which was required to  get me down the stairs. My feelings of absolute terror flowed through my viens and all of us were at a standstill.

We finally came up with a plan that Rosanna suggested.  A plan that didn’t require me to lean backwards to accomplish our goal. Rosanna offered to have me put my arms over their necks and shoulders and hold up my legs with their free arm. Our first attempt went smoothly but didn’t have the whole thing out, such as where exactly where we are going to carry me to. I yelled “Wheelchair” and they quickly put me back.

Rosanna moved the car to a close location and gave it another shot.
We started out down the stairs in perfect unison on the first set of stairs. As we went for the second set, I felt my body being turned and pulled a little bit but I felt confident with my family supporting me.We could have let this ruin our day but all of us were determined to get this done and we did.