My name is Sheila Harrington and I am trying to raise $1,100 to make repairs to my electric wheelchair, without which I am unable to work.
As some of you may know, I have Muscular Dystrophy (MD), a progressive, degenerative disease which, since it manifested in my late 30s, has left me unable to walk unaided. Without my chair, I do not have sufficent strength in my leg muscles to walk from my vehicle, across the parking lot, to my job as a receptionist at a medical office in Lewiston, Maine. Nor can I do that job, as it requires constant movement about the office to be sure our patients get the care they need and deserve. Even with a walker, I am unable to complete a full work day. Just getting into the office leaves me exhausted on wobbily, rubber legs. My electric wheelchair has been a Blessing, as it has allowed me to continue working, and to maintain my independence.
However, on May 24, the left motor in the chair died, a part that Bedards Pharmacy and Medical Supplies in Auburn has said will cost $900 to purchase, and $200 to install. Today, on my first day trying to work without my chair, I was essentially stranded at my desk, dependant on the kindness of my co-workers to do things for me. I hate that.
Those of you who know me know that asking for help is VERY hard for me. I've always been first in line if someone needs help, but when it comes to asking for it for myself, I am very hesitant. I've always felt that, as hard as things have been in my life, there were always others who had it worse, who needed help more than me.
Unfortuntely, my own fortunes have been terrible the past few years. In 2009, at the start of the recession, I was laid off from a local dentist office. After three months of looking, I found my current job and took it even though it was at less than half the pay I had made previously, and even though at that time I was actually making more on unemployment than the job paid!
Many people told me at the time that I should have gone on social security, but I was too proud. I said, "HELL NO! My mind still works, I still work." After a couple of years, my condition deteriorated to the point where I needed to use the wheelchair full-time, but at least doing so gave me the freedom to go about the office, the hospital, and everyday life.
In the meantime, however, despite continual efforts to cut back following my cut in pay, our financial condition worsened. We eliminated every form of frivilous spending we could find. We've even been without television for the past year, having canceled the satelite service. But always something would happen. An emergency home repair, a totaled car, an empty propane heating tank, all of which conspired to keep my husband and I from ever really recovering from that change of fortune in 2009. To make matters worse, my husband, who was a newspaper reporter, lost his job three months ago. Things were very tight before and that made them even tighter, even with Duke able to pick up a few freelance writing jobs.
On June 5, having exhausted all other options, we are scheduled to sign papers for a banruptcy filing.
As things stand, we simply have no money to fix my wheelchair. We actually had to borrow money for the bankruptcy. So, being literally out of options, I am turning to all of you for whatever help you can offer.
Any money raised above the $1,100 will be used for vehicle repairs — including new brakes, rotors, shocks and an alignment — all necesary maintenance that has gone undone in recent years for lack of financial wherewithal.
Also, because, proud as I am, I don't want to just take your money, I am offering to repay you from two of my hobbies, photography and card making. At certain donation levels, I will provide free family portraits, or packs of hand-made cards. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for any donation, big or small, that will help me to continue my job, along with whatever prayers or positive thoughts you can send.
Thank You and God Bless You
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