Oct. 23, 2013
WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University football defensive end Janne Kouri and his NextStep organization will host its Fifth Annual "Help Make a Difference" Benefit, DC at Top of the Town on Thursday evening.
Kouri a star defensive end at Georgetown from 1993-96, set the program record for career sacks (31.5), a record that still stands today. Now Kouri is looking to continue his mission and expand NextStep, a nationally recognized non-profit organization that he founded in 2008, to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.
In 2006, 10-years following a celebrated collegiate career that saw him named the 1996 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Kouri suffered an accident that fractured his C5 and C6 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Despite being told that he would never walk again by doctors, Kouri would not give up the fight.
During an inspirational speech Kouri gave to the Georgetown football team last season, he used a Finnish word, "Sisu." In English, the word is loosely translated, as strength of will, determination, perserverance and acting rationally in the face of adversity. Through his own rehabilitation, Kouri proved to be the human embodiment of the word, displaying determination and even founding NextStep Fitness in Southern California.
Kouri has continued the fight, progressing to a point where he was able to walk with a walker for a few hundred feet by 2011.
During its five years, NextStep has become he nationally recognized non-profit organization making a long list of believers from ABC's "Good Morning America" to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN.com's "The Human Factor, as well as CBS' "The Doctors" along the way.
On Thursday evening, Kouri and his NextStep organization will movertoward its next goal of bringing a facility to DC by the end of 2014 with the intent of allowing each person and wounded warrior living with Stroke, SCI, MS, CP, TBI, Parkinson's, Amputation, other neurological and mobility impairments, to have local access to the very best in ongoing rehabilitation, fitness, health and wellness.
Visit http://www.nextstepfitness.org/events for more information on attending Thursday night's benefit.