Rosemarie Rossetti, the spokeswoman for the 2011 Disability Insurance Awareness Month public education campaign, had plenty going for her June 13, 1998, when a tree fell on her while she was riding a bicycle and paralyzed her from the waist down.

She had a doctorate in agricultural education, had taught at Ohio State University for 19 years and had written for national gardening publications.

But the Columbus, Ohio, resident said she also benefited greatly from public and private programs when she was adapting to her new situation.

The Ohio Rehabilitation Service Commission sent experts out to help Rossetti with matters such as helping her arrange to drive again; making her home more accessible; and drawing up plans for the motivational speaking firm she runs today.

An individual disability insurance policy provided the income she needed to help support herself, and also to pay for a personal care assistant. The assistant got Rossetti get out of bed, helped her dress, and drove her to physical therapy appointments three times a week. “She was with me for a full year,” Rossetti recalled. “She was a critical part of my recovery.”

Rossetti said she became the LIFE disability month spokeswoman because she is passionate about motivating people to buy disability insurance and about motivating producers to sell it.

“What a life-saving buoy disability insurance was for me,” Rossetti said.