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About the Jesse Karn’s Supplemental Program


Rehabilitation is expensive, especially if you don’t have the right kind of medical healthcare insurance or any insurance for that matter. The sad thing is that most people who really want and need rehab are the ones who cannot afford it. That’s why we created the Jesse Karn’s Supplemental Program.

The Jesse Karn’s Supplemental Program was been established to provide financial assistance to individuals who are suffering and living with a catastrophic spinal cord and/or brain injury. This supplemental fund is to assist qualified individuals towards their long term rehabilitation program.

We offer clients the ability to afford to pay for the rehab they receive here at Stay In Step. We also offer supplemental funds that work along with some health insurances if eligible.

As of January 2019, SIS has provided more than $315,000 of therapy hours to clients in need through our supplemental program.

Please contact SIS for more details.

About Sergeant Jesse Karns


timthumb__2_Sergeant Jesse Karns was a native of Collinsville, Oklahoma. He served in the U.S. Army from 2007-2010. While completing training as a Ranger Special Operations Combat Medic, he suffered injuries from a tragic accident which left him as a quadriplegic at the young age of 23.

Following his accident he received treatment and lengthy rehabilitation therapy at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. Jesse’s accident and life-altering condition brought him to a new life and home in Tampa, Florida. He developed friendships and was beloved by a multitude of caregivers, friends and loved ones who supported his recovery and transition to an ultimately independent lifestyle.

His condition and new life took him far beyond the walls of James A. Haley and into the arms of his new family and circle of support. Caregivers and devoted friends Nathan Nelson, Devin Davis, and Phil Rustenberghe became part of a nuclear family family for Jesse. LTC(Ret) Andy Burch and his wife Melissa and their son Aaron were brought into Jesse’s life upon his arrival at James A. Haley and were considered by Jesse to be his most beloved surrogate family, protectors, and supporters and they loved and cherished him as their own.

Jesse maintained friendships with the family of John and Debbie Wolfe along with brothers Matthew Wolfe and wife Amanda, Kendal Wolfe and sister Gayle Wolfe from his childhood in Collinsville, Oklahoma and cherished their continued friendship and support following his accident and into his new life in Tampa. Jesse’s brother Michael was the most dear and beloved by Jesse. While Jesse was cared for by so many, he took care of Michael and was his avid protector and provider.

JK-imageJesse was a passionate and committed young man. He believed in all things intellectual and was an avid student and researcher of issues he felt strongly about. He was an A student in his studies of Sociology at Hillsborough Community College. He enjoyed any deep debate or discussion related to the ecology and betterment of our environment. He was a staunch advocate of living a vegan lifestyle and not leaving a “footprint” on our planet. Jesse was quite sophisticated at his young age and loved good wine, fine cigars, and healthy eating  which he shared with his friends and family alike.

His generosity of himself to those he loved had no limits. His true hope was to be able to help and provide for anyone less fortunate than himself.  He enjoyed his life fully and without limits or fear. Jesse knew his physical limitations but felt it his duty to not surrender to them whenever possible. Jesse’s love of pushing the envelope and never accepting any situation as impossible was supported fully by his circle of support. He saw no limits for what he could accomplish, it was only an exercise in logistics. He did tandem sky dives and obtained his scuba certification, all as a quadriplegic.

He inspired everyone he came into contact with to live every day without judgement, fear, or insecurities but with joy and reckless abandon. Jesse was tragically killed at the young age of 27 along with his friend and roommate Trevell in a fatal car accident on March 10, 2012. His death has left a void that can never be filled for so many. His legacy was to leave everyone he knew and loved with the drive to never accept limits, always be true to one’s beliefs and one’s self, and to give selflessly to those in need and less fortunate with compassion, kindness, and joy. May we all pray to be the human being he inspired and taught us to be.

In memory of her son, Debbie Wolfe established the Jesse Karns Stay In Step Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was used for 2 separate scholarships to enable SCI patients without insurance or resources to receive intensive physical therapy at Stay In Step.


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Stay In Step is a non-profit recovery center designed to provide state of the art recovery to SCI patients in the Tampa community and surrounding areas. It is open to both military and civilian SCI patients. This unique approach to rehabilitation in the Tampa area, combined with real-time global collaboration with other SCI subject matter experts and patients offers SCI patients with real possibilities for taking a step toward recovery.

Please read the Terms of Service before you continue. By proceeding you acknowledge that you have read and agree to these Terms. Your tax deductible donation to this project will be accepted by Romy and Gaby SCI Foundation Inc. d/b/a Stay In Step SCI Recovery Center is a not-for profit corporation organized under Florida Law.
Romy and Gaby SCI Foundation d/b/a Stay In Step SCI Recovery Center has been granted 501 (c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service as of June 27, 2014. All donations made prior to that date are retroactively tax deductible.