This is a mother’s day story of a sort. In helping Eli we help Marisa and their son Dylan.
Eli Kulp was a rising star in the culinary world. He was the chef and owner of High Street in Philadelphia. Eli texted his wife, Marisa, to say that he was wrapping up early catching the 9:10 train home to New York City. Marisa, was busy giving their 3-year-old son, Dylan, his bath and tucking him into bed. That day their lives would drastically change. Eli was on Amtrak train No. 188 that was traveling over a 100mph on a curve with a 50 mph limit. When it derailed, it killed eight people and injured more than 200. On impact, Eli, 37, had been thrown across his passenger car into a luggage rack, fracturing his neck, injuring his spine – and paralyzing him from the chest down. He was buried underneath piles of luggage.
During Eli’s five-month stay in an intensive rehab in Atlanta, Marisa was left to take care of things at home as she planned for their uncertain future. In addition to having to buy a new, wheelchair-accessible apartment, she had to overseeing the renovations, monitoring Eli’s 24-hour care, on top of negotiating with insurance companies while still caring for her young son. Marisa is responsible for everything now, “Eli can’t get in or out of bed. She can’t lift him, so they had to hire somebody to help him in the morning get ready for life. “You can’t prepare yourself for this. Through sickness and in health, yes, but you don’t think a spinal cord injury could potentially happen to your spouse.”
Two of Marisa s college friends set up a GoFundMe page to help with the mounting costs of hospital and homecare which reached over $1 million in the first year alone.
Amtrak agreed to cover the cost of initial acute hospital care and 30 days of rehab. The Kulps have had to file a lawsuit against the company seeking additional compensation.
It has now been two years and Eli is focused on regaining his grasp. His goal is to cook again and hold his son. Psychologically, Eli has made a lot of progress since May 2015. The first year was the hardest and his body is not like it was before. It may never be. But that doesn’t mean he’s given up trying.
Foremost on the rehabilitation list for Kulp — who lives in NYC but makes near-weekly trips (via a car with driver) to Philadelphia to confer on his four restaurants is getting back the use of his hands. He does have mobility in his upper arms, and is able to deploy a stylus combined with voice activation and dictation to use a cell phone. He texts and emails like most people. But the ability to grasp things with opposable thumbs, Kulp noted, is one of the major things that makes humans different. He’s working with doctors at the Cleveland FES Center and trying to raise money for the center’s home, the Institute for Functional Restoration at Case Western Reserve University.
Kulp, has already done a lot of as strength training and manual activation of nerves and muscles, but the new FES (functional electrical stimulation) therapy needs funding for clinical trials. This is the one that would gives him the most immediate hope of getting his hands back. The muscels are fine, but the connection doesn’t work.”
It’s not the ideal solution, it’s a “biological cure,” stem cells that would regrow the actual nerves would be ideal. But until then, this is the answer for people who suffer from spinal cord injuries.”
AKA President Larry Korman announced the spring debut of a.vin, a special limited-edition Chardonnay crafted in collaboration with Karamoor Estate of Montgomery County (Larry’s neighbor in Pennsylvania!).
won the gold medal in San Francisco and is crafted from 100% estate-grown grapes, which winemaker Kevin Robinson reports ripened happily thanks to a very warm summer and were harvested in peak condition. The wine was fermented in 50% French oak barrels and 50% stainless steel, which lends itself to a plush body without over-whelming the bright, balanced finish. Aromas of Bartlett pear complement jasmine and lemongrass notes for a wine that could easily be mistaken for Chablis.
The cost per bottle is $75.00 but $5o.oo will go directly to support spinal cord research with the aim of supporting the ongoing rehabilitation of HSHG Chef Eli Kulp, as well as help people with Spinal Cord Injury regain multiple functions through new technologies
The first limited release of 500 bottles of chardonnay are now available, and a red a.vin meritage will follow this summer. The cost will be $100.00 with $65.00 going to research and helping Eli regain his hands.
The research the wine will support could make huge differences in the lives of people with spinal cord injuries.
The cost for this technology literly will make Krup a $3 Million dollar man and open doors for those whose lives have been derailed through no fault of their own.
Want to help? It’s as easy as splurging on a bottle of a.vin chardonnay.
Aka Central Park: 42 West 58th Street.
Aka Sutton Place: 330 East 56th Street
High Street on Hudson: 637 Hudson Street.
In Philadelphia, the following restaurants
a.kitchen+bar: 135 S 18th Street.
Fork: 306 Market Street.
High Street on Market: 308 Market Street
Laurel: 1617 E Passyunk Ave.