Finding His Voice: Brian Keefer Presents at PAR Conference with SimplyHome
SimplyHome attends many conferences, but the most recent one was special: the room was so full that many people had to stand. The audience seemed spellbound, and more than a few had tears in their eyes.
On October 23, SimplyHome presented at the 2017 PAR Conference. This particular presentation was unique: It featured Brian Keefer, of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Brian joined Allen Ray, CEO of SimplyHome, to talk about enabling technology and how it has given him more independence and support in his daily life.
The PAR conference took place near Brian's home in York County, PA, and the York Daily Record recently interviewed Brian to see how he was doing, six years after the home renovation TV show transformed his family's home. (SimplyHome was the assistive technology advisor on that show.)
Known for his outstanding athletic ability before his accident, Brian is now known for directing his laser-like focus on a positive attitude, hard work, and encouraging others. He completes three to six hours of grueling therapy each day, and often travels to give motivational speeches, where he talks about the power of positivity.
As the YDR article describes, as a result of the renovation, Keefer gained his own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, guest room and therapy room complete with an indoor pool and underwater treadmill. His living quarters even have a separate entrance. Voice-activated technology enables him to have more independence in his own space.
“It’s neat to be able to talk to the house and have it help me out," Brian says of the voice-activated technology. "Just being able to be more independent, that’s been the most helpful thing."
Brian not only uses his voice to control the technology around his home, but he also uses it in his venture as a motivational speaker. Brian has spoken to schools, business associations, religious organizations, and a variety of medical groups. He has also traveled to Washington DC to participate in "Roll on Capitol Hill," where he advocated for disability laws with senior legislative aides and counsel.
As a result of the hard work Brian does in therapy, his left arm is now strong enough that he can drive his wheelchair with a joystick. He is also getting a lot of core strength back, enough to be able to sit up on the couch without any help. He's also started getting “little flickers” in his leg muscles – not enough to move yet, but it’s something he didn’t have before.