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Best Mom on Wheels

Woman with local roots wins Reeve Foundation Award, after breaking spinal cord in car crash

June 9, 2013
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

SHAKOPEE - A Shakopee woman with local roots who suffered a broken spinal cord and other injuries in a single-vehicle crash between Klossner and St. George 19 years ago, received a national award recently from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Nora Hoffmann Boyle, 35, was named the Best Mom on Wheels by the foundation that honors mothers living with paralysis that exhibit dedication, love, encouragement and goodwill.

"I was driving to school that day (April 19, 1994) on the Fort Road (Nicollet County Road 5) when I hit a field approach, was thrown from my car and broke my back," Boyle said. "I didn't wear my seat belt that day, which was weird because I usually do."

Article Photos

Submitted photo
The Boyles, from left, Owen, Debi, Nora and Jesse. Nora recently received the 2013 Best Mom on Wheels national award from the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation.

She also suffered a broken wrist, collapsed lung, bruises and had surgery twice at North Memorial Medical Center in the Twin Cities.

Unable to walk, she didn't let life in a wheelchair slow her down much. Boyle studied travel management at Rasmussen College in Mankato and married Jesse Boyle of Redwood Falls.

Living three years in Peoria, Ill., where Jesse was an engineer at Caterpillar, Inc. the couple had a boy and girl - Debi and Owen - before moving to the Detroit area where they lived for another three years, before they moved back to Minnesota.

Doctors told Boyle she could do anything anybody else could do except walk. That doesn't keep her from family activities. She recently bought a hand-powered bicycle and enjoys biking on trails in and around Shakopee with her family.

"I can go as fast as any conventional bicycle. We just joined a bike league," Boyle said. "I feel just like any other mom, doing just about anything they do. I'm busy with two very active kids."

Working full-time as a special education teachers aide at Jackson Elementary School in Shakopee, Boyle is also a Girl Scout troop leader, Parent Teacher Organization volunteer and enjoys scrap booking with friends.

Nominated for the award by her mother, Susan Hoffmann, of rural Nicollet, Boyle received more than 20 percent of more than 2,100 votes for 10 national award finalists.

After being named a national finalist, Boyle posted the news on her Facebook page. The news was echoed in several Twin Cities newspapers and television stations. She received a $500 gift card for the award.

The Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation website ( recently reported that the regulatory equivalents of the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in Switzerland and Canada, have approved a human neural stem trial for people with spinal cord injuries, three to 12-months post-injury.

Trials underway in Zurich are researching the safety and any signs of efficacy for a line of purified human neural stem cells. The first three people who got the cells in Zurich reported no safety issues.

Two showed multi-segment sensory function gains. One patient converted from complete to incomplete injury, according to the Reeve Foundation. A fourth patient was an incomplete paraplegic. There was no word on any status change in the fourth patient, according to the Reeve Foundation website.

Anyone who believes they may qualify and are interested in participating in the study is asked to contact the study nurse at

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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