In December of 2017, Steve Ralph, then a Territory Manager in Elanco’s (back then it was Bayer) farm animal team, faced a life-altering moment. A dive gone awry left him with a devastating spinal injury, changing the course of his life forever. What followed was a difficult period of adaptation, resilience, and transformation.
Those initial weeks after the accident were marked by uncertainty. Steve's ability to breathe independently was compromised, and the prognosis was disheartening – quadriplegia was a stark reality. But, over the span of nearly six years and numerous surgeries, Steve's spirit prevailed and he is still an invaluable member of the Elanco team today.
Slowly but surely, Steve's journey to recovery took shape. Through surgeries, therapy sessions, and the support of loved ones, he navigated the challenges of his new reality. The return of partial movement in both arms boosted his independence and symbolised the progress he was making both physically and mentally.
Elanco, in collaboration with government service, Job Access, worked to ensure his reintegration into the workforce. A newly created role as a Data Analyst in the marketing team not only accommodated Steve’s need for less travel and movement, but Steve's contributions quickly became indispensable. Then, late last year Elanco launched a new sales team that is reaching vets in different ways through the advanced use of technology, which has allowed Steve to get back into sales and back on his original career trajectory.
Steve's journey also took on a broader purpose. He became a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion within Elanco, actively participating in committees that shaped the company's ethos, such as the DE&I and Green Directions committees. Outside of work, he extended his support to others in similar situations, offering guidance and empathy born from his own experience.
His newly launched podcast titled "Life Rolls On" has become Steve's platform to share his insights and connect with individuals who, like him, have faced life-altering events. Through his podcast, he sheds light on stories of resilience and growth.
That’s why we couldn’t be happier to support Steve and others living with spinal cord injuries in support of SIP Week - a fundraising campaign encouraging people to replicate the experience of many people with spinal injuries by only drinking through straws for a week.
SIP Week raises funds for The Spinal Injury Project at Griffith University, who in partnership with the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation, is less than $1m away from trialing a world-first cure for paralysis with a Cell Transplantation and Rehabilitation Human Clinical Trial. And you can help.
If you'd like to donate to the cause and help us reach our goals, you can donate to the Elanco SIP Week fundraiser page here.
So, while you’re sipping all your drinks through a straw between September 4 to 10 2023, please remember to raise your glass to Steve and countless individuals who persevere in the face of adversity.