BACKBONES was born when friends and family of Reveca Torres started a fundraising campaign in order to help pay for medical expenses after a spinal cord injury. Surrounded by great people, Reveca realized the importance of a support system to help reach one’s goals after an injury and the impact others with similar injuries had — they provided motivation and confidence that couldn’t be found elsewhere.
With the support and guidance of so many, Reveca Torres and co-foundersVeronica Gott, Patricia Mikicic and Annie Gonzalez put a long-time goal into motion and transformed BACKBONES into what it is today: a place to connect with others with the purpose of learning, teaching, and sharing.
While on a family vacation in Mexico, Reveca fractured her spinal cord in an automobile accident and was paralyzed. At the moment of the accident she immediately knew something was wrong when she couldn’t move. It was awhile before someone was able to help the Torres family to the nearest medical facility. Once the family realized Reveca had injured her spine, it was obvious her medical needs would be extensive and arrangements were made to have her transferred to the nearest medical center in Texas. After weeks in Intensive Care and surgery, she was stable enough to return to Chicago. Having an incomplete injury and with no guarantee as to how her body would recover, she spent the next three months at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago relearning activities of daily life and adjusting to a wheelchair.
Reveca finished high school and started college unsure if she could physically pursue the career she had always dreamed of: fashion design. With a few adaptations, she was the first student using a wheelchair to complete the fashion degree at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, where she featured collections and was a representative and finalist at the Fashion Group International (FGI) Costume Design Competition. She continued her studies in Theater Arts at the University of Arizona (UA).
It was at the UA where Reveca met others with spinal cord injuries and became interested in adaptive sports and fitness. Upon returning to Chicago, she noticed the lack of fitness opportunities for people with disabilities in the area and decided to change it. Reveca has worked with Shriners Hospital for Children, Mobility International USA (MIUSA), Athletico Fitness and Performance, and the University of Illinois (UIC) at Chicago’s National Center for Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD). With their help she has been able to provide resources on recreation, disability rights, college, travel, employment, and fitness to people with disabilities, specifically teenagers.
Reveca stays active and healthy by following a fitness routine and practicing yoga. She loves shoes and music festivals. Whether it’s surfing in California, scuba diving in the Bahamas, cleaning beaches in Costa Rica, attending fashion shows in Paris, or coming up with ideas for BACKBONES, Reveca loves to try new things and encourages others to do what they love too!
Veronica Gott After graduating from The Institute of Art, she went on to working as Sr. Graphic Designer and Art Director for marketing firms such as Optimus, BCBS of Illinois, and ImageSure. Veronica recently completed a masters degree in Bilingual Education. A busy mother of two, Veronica spends her free time running 5K’s and half-marathons. She enjoys zumba, yoga, gardening, and pretending to be an interior designer.Veronica is Reveca’s older sister. She is dedicated to BACKBONES and improving the lives of people with spinal cord injury. Veronica is a highly motivated person, always looking for ways to wow by planning, promoting, or executing an event. Veronica lives and works in the north suburbs of Chicago where she also contributes with her graphic design skills to a variety of causes.
Patricia Mikicic Co-founder, friend, student of the Arts, master of event planning, and flower guru — Patricia. Patricia is momma to Brutus the Cat and Ranger the Dog and Baby Girl Juliette. Patricia is owner of Oh My! Floral and Events. She enjoys running, teaching yoga, and designing beautiful bouquets for brides-to-be. Patricia’s attention to detail is apparent at every BACKBONES event she works on. She loves to see people reach their goals despite an injury and celebrates their personal accomplishments.
Annie Gonzalez Co-founder- Annie knows all about disability and spinal cord injury — she’s been Reveca’s wing-gal since the beginning. She knows wheelchairs, she knows elevators, and she even knows piggy-back rides to get from the chair to the beach. As a recent Business Administration graduate, Annie is excited to start her own business and get her own stapler. She has run the Chicago Marathon three times, thinks she might take up boxing, and loves her chubby bulldog Billy.