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New SCI/D Per Year
 Greater Sacramento Area
Living with SCI/D
 Greater Sacramento Area
Average Cost of SCI Per Year
 California State
* Statistical numbers are approximate.

TLC square white outline

Behind The Name

The Lionheart name reflects the spirit and values of the SCI/D community. It evokes bravery, determination and strength - essential qualities when facing daily challenges. Lionheart also represents tenderness and compassion towards one another. The acronym TLC encapsulates this ethos of tender loving care. By uniting under this banner, the community aims to empower members to find courage and resilience. Lionheart symbolizes the shared resolve to embrace life fully and fearlessly.

Our Story

TheLionheart.Community came out of a need for support during lock down. When the hospital meetings shut down, the directors reached out to the peers of the groups and expressed the need for an online SCI/D community. A place where in-patients could get support through confusing and critical times and a space where hospital students could come and learn about SCI/D. 

The peers created the online group in early 2020 and the meetings have been weekly ever since. The first few meetings were attended by members concentrated in the Greater Sacramento Area, but over the years the reach has expanded into the surrounding counties and even across the country.

The TLC community is a diverse crew, members represent almost all levels of the C, T and L spine classifications with varying ASIA scores. Or in simpler terms, we range from high quad to low para; new patients to almost 50 years post injury; wheelchair user to walking. We all have our own unique set of challenges but understand some level of paralysis. Many members of the community are accredited peer supporters. We create a safe space that's fun, educational and supportive, we learn how to navigate the journey that is SCI together.

In 2022, we expanded our services to include a monthly online women's group and hosted several outdoor in person events. We also incorporated as The Lionheart Community with the state of California.  In 2023, we became a 501c3 nonprofit with a volunteer board and started our Ambassador Program. In-person meetups were also added in the Roseville area. Currently we are working on building out or programming to include more opportunities for community support, recreation and easily accessible resources. 

TLC Weekly Wednesday

Board of Directors

We are a passionate group of people who are dedicated to building The Lionheart Community. We hope to fill more local needs of the SCI/D community. We are a 100% volunteer based board. More than half of the board lives with paralysis and comes rich in SCI/D life experience. To read extended bios of the board click on the names. If you are interested in joining and contributing to the TLC board please send an email to 

Char Vine
CEO / Executive Director

Char has a background in marketing and design. She leads a healthy and active lifestyle and likes a physical challenge. One of her callings is to help others with SCI/D so she founded TLC.
T-11 in 2000

Michelle O'Brien
CFO / Treasurer

Michelle's pride is her family of five but she really loves time with her duck. Her accounting career has been in the nonprofit sector and she also travels the world as a flight attendant. Michelle's brother sustained a SCI in 2000. 

Misty Marez

Misty graduated from Stanislaus State with a biology degree. Her high injury brings the community valuable perspective. She enjoys time with family and is the Modesto Area liaison. 

C-1/2 in 2002

Dave Gillespie
Vice President

Dave is a cancer researcher at the University of Utah. He brings a doctorate degree in science, and experience with grant writing, boards and peer support. Adaptive sports and time with family and friends fulfills Dave.
T-6 in 2007

Dr. Matthews

Adora Matthews, MD, FAAPRM, works with SCI patients in Sutter Health's Roseville PM&R department. She brings valuable insight from the health care perspective to the community. On her days off you will find her gardening or cooking.

Pat Blair

Pat works as a Rehabilitation Service Executive at Sutter Health Roseville. A long time champion for services to benefit the SCI/D community, he also brings experience to the board. His family and getting outdoors keeps him grounded and inspired. 

Chuck McAvoy

Chuck has an impressive record of serving on a range of disabled community boards. His passions are social awareness and advocacy. In his spare time you will find him creating metal sculpture and design.
T-4 in 1983


TLC Ambassadors are people who provide social outreach to the community. They live a brave and determined life, are empathetic, motivated and seek to pay it forward. TLC requires our ambassadors to be certified peer mentors and to have several years of SCI/D life experience. If you or someone you know would be a good fit for the ambassador program email:


Tiffany Poland

Tiffany founded the Queens of SCI monthly Women's Group in 2022. She is certified with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation mentoring program.

C 5-6 in 1989 

Todd Boyer

Todd has a rich history of supporting the SCI/D community. He's facilitated support groups and is often visiting the newly injured in the hospitals. 

T 12 in 1993

Adrion Garcia

Adrion is newer to the SCI/D life but he has rolled into it with lots of style and grace. He his a natural leader and has a talent for social networking in the community. 

C 6 in 2021