The Samantha Slusak Scholarship


Work hard and Never Stop Believing!

Samantha was one of the firsts client of NextStep Orlando, which quickly became her home away from home. She loved working hard and challenging herself through their unique and rigorous recovery program. She came to know the staff and clients as her extended family, who consistently encouraged her pursuit to get better and stronger. Because of her positive experience at NextStep Orlando, we are certain that Samantha would want to make the recovery program available to as many people as possible. For this reason, the Slusak family has started the Samantha Slusak Scholarship, which will afford clients an opportunity to attend NextStep Orlando each year based on financial need.

 On July 12th, 2005 at the age of 16 Samantha’s life was changed forever, she suffered a C3/4 spinal cord injury while at gymnastics practice. She was a level 10 gymnast, the highest level awarded by USAG. The injury left her paralyzed from the shoulders down and breathing with a ventilator. For Samantha, an athlete who was already attracting attention from top Division 1 gymnastics programs, her world was turned upside-down.

It was no secret what made Samantha a successful gymnast would also help her along the way with her recovery. And despite the severity of her injury, she remained optimistic that she would one day walk again and vowed to never give up on this goal.

Over the years, Samantha made considerable progress, from getting off of a ventilator to achieving movement in her shoulders. She owes much of this progress to NextStep Orlando and it’s positive atmosphere paired with personable and skilled trainers who are committed to changing the lives of everyone who enters the facility.

Samantha was an extremely unselfish individual who took tremendous joy in seeing others succeed in every aspect of their lives. Her spirit has touched so many lives along the way and will continue to through this scholarship. The Samantha Slusak Scholarship has been created for individuals who have the motivation, optimism and drive but struggle to afford the necessary rehabilitation. Samantha would want to continue to change lives for the better,

please donate to her never ending drive to help others achieve their goals!