An early setback for Steve was when his doctor made the decision for him to use an indwelling catheter. “Whether it was hard-headedness or vanity, I didn’t want to be rolling around with a bag of pee strapped to me”, he says. “I spoke to the doctor and found out about intermittent catheters. That was my next challenge.” At the time, he says, the only catheters available were red-rubber ones with lubricant. The lubricant was difficult for him to apply, “but working with the nursing team at night I slowly learned the best technique that worked for me."
"It was huge when I felt confident enough to go out in public again."
Steve would soon find his next passion: wheelchair rugby, or as it was known then – Murderball. “The cool thing about the sport is it’s made for people with quadriplegia and is full contact – you’d get into chairs and ram into each other. When I first saw it, I was like ‘Wait a minute, I’ve got to learn more about this’.”
Steve didn’t just learn more about it, he worked his way up to the US national team and won gold in international competitions. It was in the build-up to the 2004 Paralympic games that Steve and his teammates featured in the 2005 film, Murderball. “I developed some great friendships”, he says. “It felt normal, if that makes sense, being around other people in a similar situation. We were all learning this new way of life together.”
It’s these learnings and experiences Steve shares with people as a Patient Advocate, a role he started after nearly two decades working in catheter sales. “The coolest thing about working in the industry was being able to learn about newer and better catheter technologies”, he says. “There are some really discrete products out there, like the GentleCath Air™. You could be holding the package in your hand and nobody would ever know you’re holding a catheter.”
Above all, Steve says, he feels blessed that his job allows him to help others. “People need to know that life is still out there, and it’s still what you make of it”, he says.
"I want people to know they’ve got this. Look at me. Go out there and live your life to the fullest. Aspire. Dream. Work towards your goals, however big or small"