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Braves helping Dreams of Recovery Foundation

ATLANTA -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez often marvels at the great spirit and optimism Cindy Donald has displayed while dealing with paralysis and the constraints of a wheelchair.

Donald was left paralyzed when her father accidentally ran over her with his car as she was sunbathing in their driveway in 2005. She suffered spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries that forced her to experience countless hours of rehab.

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"It's a sad story how she got to how she is now," Gonzalez said. "But it's a really great story about what she's doing now."

Along with former manager Bobby Cox and current pitching coach Roger McDowell, Gonzalez has organized various fund-raising activities to assist both Donald and the Cindy Donald Dreams of Recovery Foundation, which helps others who have suffered spinal cord and brain injuries.

"It was amazing after I got hurt to meet Bobby and meet Fredi and just realize how great they are," Donald said from in front of the Braves' dugout a few hours before Thursday night's series finale against the Nationals.

The latest initiative is Cindy's Walks for Recovery, a program that will allow fans to make monetary donations based on the number of walks Braves batters draw over the course of the season.

Tax-deductible donations -- starting at 10 cents per walk for individuals and $10 per walk for corporations -- will help the foundation provide financial grants for individuals waiting to participate in approved therapy programs and purchase necessary equipment to improve daily life.

"I told [hitting coach Greg Walker] we're going to start giving a lot of 3-0 takes," Gonzalez said with a laugh.

For more information about how to participate, visit or call 770-675-6565.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for

Atlanta Braves