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About Us

Board of Directors

Natalie Marie Barnhard
PTA, LMT

President/Founder,
Wheels With Wings Foundation

I'm Natalie Marie Barnhard, PTA, LMT and the founder & president of The Wheels With Wings Foundation Inc. I also started the WNY Chapter of the United Spinal Association & attended Roll on Capitol Hill as a chapter representative advocating for disability legislation regarding Medicare & getting the Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) bill passed. I will be attending the advocacy event again this summer. I've also been asked to be on a product advisory board for BARD Medical & was recently featured in a book for Wheel:Life called Reconnecting:Relationship Advice from Wheelchair Users

My passion has always been to help other people which is why I chose a career in the health & wellness field. However life had taken a huge turn when I went from therapist to patient in the blink of an eye. While I was working as a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant & Massage Therapist a weight machine fell on top of me causing a severe spinal cord injury when 2 vertebrae in my neck shattered. I instantly became a quadriplegic unable to move or feel below my neck.

I've spent the last 10 years of my life rehabilitating myself through numerous types of therapy centers & various types of modalities. I wanted to heal & progress to become as independent as possible to live a happy healthy life. It was the most difficult journey of my life, but one that would take me to a place I never thought I'd be… A healer again!

Through my education in therapy, massage, wellness & my experience of living as a quadriplegic having to learn a new way of life, God put a strong passion back into my heart to continue helping people. My dream & vision is for this foundation to provide individual grants for people with spinal cord injuries to get the things they need to change their quality of life and independence. I also hope to educate families, caregivers, & the community about the advances in the SCI world & show how you can become an advocate for yourself or a loved one dealing with this life changing catastrophic injury.

I've been given a truly unique perspective into the life of disability & want people to know their (dis)ability. My goal is the development of a state of the art rehab & recovery center here in Western New York to change lives in & around our community. Please join our cause because together we can help every individual with a SCI live the best Independent life possible!

Deborah Matteliano
PhD

• Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
• Certified Pain Management Specialist  Focusing on holistic, addiction-free  pain management using a spiritual  approach
• Owner, Deborah Matteliano Pain  Rehabilitation
• Adjunct Assistant Professor,  University at Buffalo School of Nursing

Past Honors/Awards:
- American Cancer Society Miss Hope  Spokesperson
- Nurse of the year Veterans  Administration Medical Center
- NYS Road Race Masters Champion
- Founder “Natalie’s Ride” 700 mile ride  around Lake Ontario to benefit Wheels  with Wings Foundation

Caring for patients is a passion that I have shared with Natalie as my colleague in caring for patients with spine injuries. Over the past decade, we dreamed of how we would focus on the whole individual, designing an approach that serves the physical, spiritual and psychological challenges that come with a spinal injury. Natalie had a vision then that is now being realized, and I am honored to help spirit the dream into reality.

Kevin J. English
Chairman of the Board
Wheels With Wings Foundation

Mr. Kevin J. English, an attorney and partner with Phillips Lytle LLP, practices on trial and appellate matters in both state and federal courts. He is also the leader of the firm's Litigation Practice Group. He has been recognized as a 2014 BTI Client Service All-Star and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Upstate New York Super Lawyers, and Legal Elite of WNY. Mr. English was appointed chairman of the board of the Wheels With Wings Foundation in may 2014 after representing Natalie Barnhard, president and founder of Wheels With Wings, in her personal injury litigation case.

It is a privilege to be part of such an impactful organization that provides assistance, advocacy, education and awareness to individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Shannon E Filbert Esq.
Attorney

I work as trial attorney at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo Inc., where I represent juvenile delinquents and children in severe abuse and neglect proceedings at Erie County Family Court. I am appointed as West Seneca Town Prosecutor and I look forward to pursuing a career as a future Judge. I also enjoy working a criminal defense attorney representing indigent Defendants in Justice Courts throughout Erie County.

The Wheels with Wings Foundation has a personal significance to me since I suffered a spinal cord injury in 1998. I enjoy working as chairman of the Wheels with Wings Grant Committee and it is my desire to continue assisting with grants that truly support spinal cord injured individuals rise above these devastating injuries. Natalie’s passion and vision is truly inspiring. My goal is to assist the Wheels with Wings Foundation to continue to bring awareness to Western New York for the immediate need for a spinal cord recovery center.

Joyce Seneca
MBA, PMP

Joyce Seneca MBA, PMP is a certified Project Management Professional who previously worked as a Prime Contract Manager for the $340M Department of Energy (DOE) project with West Valley Environmental Services as well as managing the supplemental $70M contract, while earning two Outstanding Achievement Awards. She works as a Personal Business Consultant and was a Registered Financial Planner but the majority of her professional career was at GREATBATCH, in Clarence, NY that designs and manufactures vital technologies enhancing the reliability and performance of medical devices and extremely critical industrial applications (1987-2005). She worked in advancing capacities ranging from Quality, Project, Program, and Sales and Marketing Management positions.

Her extensive experience includes the advancement of ideas from research to managing projects for new developments, finance; generating, negotiating and managing contracts, forecasting and expanding market share.

I hope my experience can make a difference and help to advance Natalie’s dream.

Mary Lynn Barnhard
Vice President
Wheels With Wings Foundation

I currently am an Administrative Assistant for the Town of Cheektowaga. As Natalie’s mother, I have experienced first hand how this devastating injury can affect not only the patient but the entire family. My goal for the Wheels With Wings Foundation, Inc is to ensure that there is education and support, not only during the immediate onset of the injury, but also along the road to recovery. I will work with the other Board Members to support the mission of Wheels With Wings to provide quality of life grants to assist spinal cord individual’s obtain the exceptional types of therapy available, medical equipment, or to receive the needed home modifications as well as any emotional support & advocacy.

The Wheels With Wings Foundation would like to bring awareness of the need for a spinal cord recovery center in Western New York and I will work to grow SCI awareness and encourage others to partner with this extraordinary Foundation.

Michele M. Bjorkman
Wheels With Wings Foundation

Employed with M&T Bank, Buffalo, NY supporting Human Resources administration as an Executive Assistant. Previous employment includes Greatbatch, Inc., Hunter’s Hope Foundation, and Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church. Career experience includes support of executive management, marketing, corporate communications, community relations, trade show management, corporate and special event planning, direct sales and fundraising.

As a member of the Wheels With Wings Foundation Board of Directors, it is a privilege to support this organization for future growth, while helping disabled individuals rise above from spinal cord injuries and have a better quality of life.

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