Aimee’s wheelchair/healthcare fund

$23,290 of $58,500 goal

Raised by 189 people in 32 months
Dolinac family in crisis as CMT (rare disease) steals mom's mobility and her ability to function in their home

My good friends, Stephen Dolinac, a NJ Police Lieutenant and his wife, Aimee, a stay a home mom of two boys under age 10 are struggling to make day to day life work. Stephen is the sole provider for his family, and while he has managed to move up in his ranks, committed to his work and his family, Aimee's disease is taking its toll on them every day. Aimee, 39, has a rare degenerative, neuromuscular condition called Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT)  as well as a co-occurring condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) . The CMT has gradually reduced her mobility to where she cannot walk without significant mobility aides now. A year ago she could walk on her own, but now she struggles to make her way through their split level house and is unable to use the stairs without Stephen's help.

Aimee is alone most days coping with the chronic pain and often falls trying to do basic things, like use the bathroom or get dressed. The multiple falls have caused Aimee to have concussions, significant injuries in her back, and intermittent seizures. CMT has affected the neurological function of her bladder, caused issues swallowing food and water, and produced hearing loss. Having EDS means everything is slower to heal and she is more prone to serious injury when there is a fall. In addition to struggling to get herself through each day without further injury, Aimee cares for her 9 year old son with Pediatric Bipolar Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, and ADHD. While they have a few generous friends who help whenever possible, they are an hour away from family and can't afford to pay for extra help.

The Dolinacs are unable to move from their home because it's value is below what they owe on their mortgage. This means they are trapped in a place that cannot be made handicap accessible and is an hour from Stephen's job. It's dangerous because Aimee can't always be on the same level of the house as the boys are, and can't fit her wheel chair into the bedrooms or bathroom. The family is raising money to pay off the difference between what the house is worth and what they will owe so they can find a home on a single level that can be easily navigated by Aimee's wheel chair. In addition, moving would enable them to be closer to Stephen's job and both of their families so she would not be alone, with caring for the children or during the day while they're at school. They are hoping to reduce the time Stephen must commute in order to increase the time he can spend helping his family at home, too. While CMT is not fatal, it will continue to attack Aimee's nerves and muscles in her legs, feet, arms, and hands. The CMT and EDS will continue to affect her bladder and ability to swallow, and will cause her hearing loss to progress as well. They cannot wait for the market to shift, as her health continues to decline, and that's why I'm asking for your help now.

They would never ask for help themselves, so I had to start this campaign after seeing how much mobility Aimee has lost and knowing how little money they have from all of the medical expenses. Just watching her move from her bed to her wheel chair was hard and got me worried about how she can possibly keep living like this.
Please help me change the lives of this young family for the better. They will be so grateful and appreciatiative for anything you can do and anyone else you can share this with. 

Thank you so much!
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SOMA, The Dolinac family needs our help. Their son is good friends with mine, and I had no idea they were going through this... only found out when I wondered why i've never met his mom, just his dad. PLEASE READ. the Go Fund Me is old but still active, but her health has deteriorated since- and the need is different, (they have moved) but the need is greater. Tracy Tyson and I will be setting up a meal train shortly.

I received this update from Aimee Dolinac yesterday.
Update: This picture makes me cry. It has been so long since I could stand on my own now. I’ve had a manual wheelchair for 2 and a half years now. Kessler and I have just come to the realization that it’s time for a power chair since I can no longer self propel. I am in pain all of the time.
Over the past few years some of my organs have been shutting down or working at a minimum capacity. I use what is called a non-invasive ventilator for now. Basically this means I do not have a trach tube. I have a ventilator at home and one I carry with me. I use a mouth tube when I feel out of breath. At night I wear a mask completely because I have stopped breathing in the past.
I have neurogenic bladder, which means the signal from my brain is not telling my bladder it’s full anymore. I’m slowly losing my hearing. Most recently my intestines have decided to shut down. We are currently trying to control this with medication, but the doctors are preparing me for the worst.
I am not telling anyone this for sympathy. I am simply speaking the truth of what my life is like with this horrible disease. Unfortunately, it is progressive in nature.
My husband is a saint for all he does for me & my family. He never complains. What saddens me the most is that my children have accepted that I’m sick and not around. (I’m currently bed-ridden until I get my new chair).
The good news. We were able to find a handicapped accessible apartment. Though it’s been an adjustment to apartment living, it’s been such a blessing that could not have happened if we didn’t have the love & support of others. We are close to family and are lucky to have my mother in law nearby, who is always available during an emergency.
Now we are faced with paying slightly over $2,000 for my chair (the part insurance won’t pay for) and about $7,000 to have our van modified for this new 400lb chair.
We are not sure at this point where this money will come from.
My husband is a hard working Police Lieutenant in SO. Some of you may know him.
Unfortunately, with me being out of work for years, the expenses we’ve already had to take on, and caring for our 11 year old child with Autism, things have gotten tight.
I am not the type of person to ask for help. My husband definitely isn’t. But I’ve realized lately that we can not do this on our own. Things will not get better. My health will continue to decline and that is a realization I’ve had to come to on my own. I’m ok with it. I stay positive and use humor to deal with my disease. I just feel for my husband and his constant stress. He does everything and has a very stressful job.
If anything I’d like to be able to help him reduce the extra financial burden.
I have to give credit to the amazing Maplewood police & Fire Department. They have been here in minutes to help me when I fall or need to be transported to the hospital. They are fantastic.
So that’s our updated story. We love being part of the SOMA community and my younger son has never been happier in his school. Thank you to all of you who have donated. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. To our family. Thank you for even taking the time to read this.
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Thank you all for being so incredibly generous! There have been many positive things that have happened as a result of your collective help and it is so greatly appreciated!
First, the Dolinac family was able to relocate close to their family a couple of weeks ago. Stephen has significantly reduced his commute time and they are closer to Andrew's school which shortens his commute, too. Despite the risk to their credit they made the move without selling the house first because it had become too much of a safety hazard to stay and your donations made it possible for them to afford the rent, security and moving costs. While they still need a lot of money to close the gap in what they will sell their house for and what they owe to the bank, they are now living in an apartment that is a single level and has doorways wide enough to allow Aimee's wheelchair through.

Also, the generosity of this group enabled the family to consolidate their cars. Since Aimee is unable to drive they now have one that is completely handicap accessible. This gives Aimee tremendous new freedom as she can be driven places much more easily in the new van, especially because she doesn't have to navigate any stairs in the new apartment.

Unfortunately Aimee has completely lost her ability to stand and is fighting to keep strength in her hands and arms. She is committed to her PT and working hard on figuring out how she needs to adapt to this new life with so many restrictions.

Our current focus is raising the remaining funds needed to keep them from major debt and the additional hardship that will bring. We have managed to make some solid progress in improving their situation and we need to continue to stay on track. We also want to fund additional mobility tools to help Aimee retain some independence and we need to afford child care when Steven is at work.

Thank you again for your thoughts, prayers, and donations! Please share the Dolinac's story with anyone who may relate and want to help this deserving family.
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$23,290 of $58,500 goal

Raised by 189 people in 32 months
Created April 25, 2016
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