HO-HO-KUS, N.J. — The life of Christine Danza of Ho-Ho-Kus took a turn in December when she came home from a holiday party in heels, in the dark, and fell in her kitchen.
“I broke my neck,” she said.
“I don’t know if I hit the counter or the table but when I woke the next morning, I couldn’t move.”
She was on the floor, paralyzed, her phone just beyond reach.
There she stayed for 18 hours.
Until the tenant returned from work and heard her weak cries for help.
Next came spine surgery, then rehab at a Kessler Institute.
Now is the long, slow haul back to health.
Danza — who has two 11-year-old twins, Michael and Lia — is living in a home in Hawthorne. She left her Ho-Ho-Kus home of 14 years, she said, when she and her husband separated.
Each of her parents comes to stay with her for a time.
And her Ho-Ho-Kus friends are never far.
She and her children never want for food. A seamless supply of lunches and dinners are provided through Angels in Action, a borough nonprofit service that helps Ho-Ho-Kus families cope with personal emergencies.
Danza said the Angels, coordinated by her pal Jules Hughes, have been making sure her children are fed in school and delivering meals to their home.
“Ho-Ho-Kus is a small town and people are willing to do,” Hughes said.
Since Danza is on her own and cannot work, Ho-Ho-Kus friends have set up a GoFundMe page for her.
Since she can’t move, they’re moving for her, too.
Four instructors – including “Lord of the Dance” veteran Heather Gordon – will run the event, which starts at 3 p.m.
Tickets costs $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
Today Danza, who lives in her wheelchair, takes an AccessLink ride to rehab, where she tries to coax her body into movement again.
In the meantime, friends have donated their professional time and supplies to build her an access ramp to her Hawthorne home and make other adjustments inside.
She remains encouraged.
“I can move my arms a little bit,” Danza said. “My fingers are starting to come back a little.
“I’m gaining a little more strength in my core but I can only move my legs a little bit. I can bounce my knees together.”
She can stand, with help, for a few seconds before getting lightheaded.
Sometimes her limbs go numb.
Danza does her best to stay upbeat.
“I think positive and I tell my legs to move,” she said. “One day, they’ll listen.”
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