Please help Machelle get a stair chair lift so she can navigate the stairs in her home safely. Machelle has a rare autoimmune disease, polymyositis, which is attacking her right hip, right leg and right knee.
Machelle Dunlop is an Austin music photographer and former roller derby skater who has been seriously ill since 1/31/2012. She's had multiple hospital stays including stints in ICU with a low heart rate, a 60-day migraine that was not responding to treatment and a bladder that just stopped working (thankfully her bladder control is back ~yay!~). She traveled to see specialists in Houston and came back with nothing but astronomical medical bills.
Although many diagnoses have been ruled out, today she knows she has polymyositis, a painful, rare, debilitating, often fatal auto-immune disease. She lives in constant pain and uses a walker on good days and a wheelchair on bad days.
Doctors have told her she must keep moving, despite the pain. After a 13 day in-patient stay for physical therapy, occupational therapy and aqua therapy at St. David's Hospital in downtown Austin, she now goes there 3 times a week for physical therapy as an outpatient.
Machelle can no longer drive and (unfortunately) lives just outside of the Austin Transit System's service area. She's eligible to ride the Special Transit vehicles for people with disabilities, but she has to get a ride to an address within the service area first. In Machelle's case that's about a mile away to her neighborhood drugstore. She is picked up and dropped off there by STS. This service is not free. It costs $40 per month.
Machelle is a beautiful, helpful, loving person. She is known for her positive attitude and her love and encouragement of others. She agreed to this fundraiser only if she could personally thank everyone who donates, so please include your email address or mailing address so she can contact you.
When we started this campaign the $6,731 goal represented 3 months of Machelle's out-of-pocket medical expenses. As of April, Machelle has incurred expenses far exceeding this amount due to ambulance rides, multiple ER visits, hospital stays, in-patient rehabilitation, out-patient rehabilitation, STS fares and taxi fares.
On May 1, 2013, Machelle reduced her fundraising goal by almost $3000 to a new goal of $3,900. She did this because all donations had stopped, except from *one* rare, generous person (a good friend from Ottawa ON, CA who pledged $100 per month.) Machelle could not in good conscious continue to take this single recurring donation when many other friends and acquaintances have never even donated $5 or $10.
Machelle decided if she could just raise enough money to install a used stair chair lift system, she would be able to navigate the stairs in her home safely. Then she could shut this donation site down with dignity. She continues to be humbled by the generosity of everyone who has donated. Machelle is sincerely thankful for the selflessness and love so many of you have shown.
Please continue to support Machelle until she gets a used or refurbished stair chair lift system. This is a much needed item for her safety that would serve as a reminder with every use of the generous support she received from her friends.
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