Help a Quad Out Project
The Help a Quad Out Project is a crowdfunding initiative to help raise money and support for the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van for Panama City native Tan Nguyen. Tan was in a car accident sixteen years ago that left him a C4-C5 quadriplegic. Tan’s paralysis affects all four extremities, requiring him to use a wheelchair and a specially modified vehicle.
Tan spent nearly two years in physical therapy. He then went on to earn his Associate of Arts in Fine Arts from Gulf Coast Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Professional and Corporate Communication from The Florida State University. Through it all, Tan has worked tirelessly as an advocate for disabilities rights, served as a mentor for many with a new spinal cord injury, worked for nearly a decade as a tutor for students with a disability at Gulf Coast State College, and now works as a Researcher for Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University.
Tan has been proactive about his disability, maintaining his health and a healthy lifestyle, and using assistive technology to live a life of independence. For Tan, the purchase of a vehicle comes with the additional financial burden of paying for wheelchair access conversion and modification with adaptive equipment.
A recent graduate of Florida State University, Tan is ready to start the next chapter in his life, beginning with more independence. Tan hopes that through his campaign he can raise the funds he needs for the purchase and conversion of a wheelchair accessible van, and also raise awareness of the mobility needs and trials that many with mobility disabilities face every day. Tan is in need of a new wheelchair van, one that fits his new, more active lifestyle as a graduate, new professional, and advocate, and is equipped for the needs and safety of his wheelchair.
Learn more about Tan, your friendly neighborhood quad, and take part in his journey at www.helpaquadout.wordpress.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HelpAQuadOut. You can also follow him and the Help a Quad Out Project on Instagram @quadout.
My wife half jokingly said to me this afternoon, it would really make people question the state of our circumstances if the only way I could get to my doctor's appointment in Pensacola was to "drive" my wheelchair there...literally. Just take up a sidewalk and travel the 662 miles roundtrip to my doctors appointment and home. Take into account that my wheelchair can only travel about 12-15 miles to the charge + it takes approximately 8 hours to fully charge the chair battery; it should only take me about a month to get there, right!?! But wouldn't it drive home the very message we're trying to make.
Without safe, working personal transportation to make the trip, some 662 miles round trip, Tan utilized a benefit in his insurance that pays for medical transport to doctors appointments. It was a first for Tan and his wife to use this benefit, but it was necessary. What we learned was that medical transport comes with its own set of problems. Patients are completely at the mercy of the transportation company and their schedule. Yesterday, the transport company found themselves understaffed, overbooked, and with patients whose doctors were running late. After two weeks of planning between Tan and the transport company, attaining medical proof of need for insurance, and a prescription later, medical transport came two hours late to picking Tan up...for a drive that takes 2 hours 32 minutes one way. Knowing they were running late, the transport company notified Tan's doctor that he would be late to arriving--not a good thing when doctors are dropping Medicaid patients quicker than flies and Tan has yet to have a first appointment with this new physician. Though very nice, the physician didn't hesitate to leave us with the parting message that arriving late for upcoming visits and tests was not tolerable. And there are many more tests and visits to come.
Tan's abdomen ultrasound results yielded some unusual information that made the doctor question what the ultrasound images were showing. The dosage of one of Tan's medicines, a medicine to control muscle spasms, also caused him concern as it is known for causing kidney failure--information that we only just learned about a few months ago. A visit with Tan's neurologist will be in the works in the very near future to discuss that bit. Now, the urologist has ordered a test that uses high contrast resolutions and tracks the function of the kidneys, their input/output, and determines reasons for function loss, if there is any. These images will also help determine if there are kidney stones or fat deposits in his kidney, another potential result showing in the ultrasound that had Tan's primary physician worried. This test can only be conducted at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola; the only hospital in the area to have the imaging equipment for the full test. So, what we're looking at is several more trips to Pensacola in the immediate future.
Medical transport has proven in its first run not to be a viable source of transportation. We'll have to look into methods of making the van Tan currently has safe for these next few trips, but it's not a solution. The solution is this campaign; it's purchasing a new van for conversion. Please continue to support, to share our campaign with your family, friends, coworkers, even your employers. Many companies support causes that their employees support, holding drives, fundraisers, or gift matching opportunities for those causes. Every little bit brings us closer to achieving our goal. Share. Donate. Advocate. Tan needs us all now.
This month we quietly saw the one year anniversary of the launch of our Help A Quad Out campaign. We pondered making a big deal of our baby campaign turning one, but in the end we decided to save those milestones for when HQO Project becomes a proud organization helping others to achieve their goals of mobility independence. That's because, our campaign isn't about how long it takes us to reach our goal, it's about reaching our goal; it's about achieving safe transportation and independence.
With that said, we have currently raised a total of $4,705 from generous donations and fundraisers. We fully believe that 2015 will be the year that we crush our goal. Earlier today we posted on Facebook that we had some great plans for HQO Project in the works. Running a campaign is a huge task. Take a moment to think back on any time you volunteered for some event and then just think for a moment all the people that were involved in making that happen. Working on a two person team as HQO Project is right now is a gigantic undertaking. This year we would like to bring in a bit more "fire power" so to speak and so in the very near future have plans to seek the help and support of our local United Way. The United Way offers support for local projects of their choosing and we hope that we can gain their support for our cause.
In the meantime, we have reached out to a great company, 3E Love--you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/3elove --a social entrepreneurial movement to change the perception of disability. They are a disability owned and operated organization that creates supportive merchandise for disability acceptance, and has a wonderful fundraising program where they help people to create merchandise and raise funds for their cause. Currently we are working with them to create our very own Help A Quad Out Project merchandise. These items, along with 3E Loves' signature wheelchair heart merchandise will be made available beginnig online and a portion of the proceeds earned from their sales will go towards our wheelchair van fund.
We have also been planning a fundraiser that we hope to make an annual event for a long time to come. It will be an art exhibition that explores "the chair" and we hope brings together the dynamic of form and function with the different perspectives of artists both mobile and wheelchair using. We have already had a great response on the idea from a few artists that we have spoken with, all of whom will be sharing works in the exhibition. Keep an eye out for more information on this project and the many ways that you will be able to contribute.
Finally, we are working on Reward Levels for our GoFundMe campaign. Reward Levels are a fun, personalized way to show our appreciation to our donors. We are taking ideas on possible Rewards, so if you have an idea or there's something you'd like to see from the Project, please feel free to leave a comment. We love hearing your ideas!
That's all for now. Keep up with the latest campaign news, upcoming events, and great photos on our Facebook page and don't forget to share our GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/HelpAQuadOut. You can also find us on Instagram @quadout.