On February 27th, 2018, I fell backwards, 20 feet, down a flight of stairs. I broke three ribs, suffered a spinal cord injury at the T11-T12 vertebrae, and hit my head on a concrete block wall, causing two brain bleeds. So, a spinal cord injury and two brain injuries at once. It's not an exaggeration to say that I'm lucky to be alive.
As you can imagine, this has completely up-ended my life. For the first couple of weeks after the accident, I was pretty much immobile. Then, the therapists at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana started working on me. And, I started to get some movement back in my legs. I now have quite a bit of movement back, and I can stand for short times. My doctors do think that I will be able to walk again, with the aid of a walker or a cane, but I will never be back at 100%. And I will always need my wheelchair to get along for any distance.
My life prior to the accident was an active one. For 25 years, I was a high school football official in Indiana, spending my autumn Friday nights under the lights, running up and down a football field.
For almost 40 years, I have worked as an actor, in stage plays, TV commercials, and a scattering of bit parts in films. I was a 28 year member of the professional union for actors, Actors Equity Association. I did 46 productions at Beef & Boards Dinner Theater in Indianapolis.
I have worked for the past 26 years as a member of the Safety Patrol at The Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 (that's me just over driver Kenny Brack's head in Victory Circle holding the Borg-Warner trophy on his car in 1999).
My wife and I were very active with our grandson. And I'm trying to get some of that independence back, trying to retrieve as much of my life prior to February 27th of this year as I can.
I would like to purchase a handicapped drive-able vehicle so that I will not have to rely on, and use the local, Indianapolis, IN based, IndyGo Open Door Paratransit Bus Service. This service is poorly managed, poorly routed, and the buses are always late, sometimes as much as an hour to an hour and a half. I am constantly late to work, doctor and therapy appointments, sometimes having to reschedule them because they have been cancelled because I am so late, thereby taking even more time away from work, and not being paid for that time. I have provided a link below to a news story done by WTHR Channel 13 Indianapolis. This is an investigative report detailing the major problems that myself and other riders have experienced. This was produced by Cyndee Hebert and the reporting is done by Bob Segall.
I could sit at home and collect a disability check, but I don't want to do that. I want to work, to be engaged, to perform a job that helps me contribute to my family, and gives me some self-esteem. I need a vehicle that I can drive so I can be on time to work, and the other appointments that this injury requires me to have, so I don't have to rely on a completely unreliable bus to make me late to everything.
And, I want to take some of the pressure off of my wife. She is now loading and unloading my chair onto a trailer that we haul with her van whenever we go anywhere...in the sun, nighttime, rain, and soon in the snow. And I want to drive my own vehicle to lessen her burden. She has been nothing short of absolutely amazing in this whole process. It’s not hyperbole to say that without her, I’d be a dead man.
My research shows that I can purchase a vehicle like I need for approximately $30,000 to $60,000, depending upon if it's pre-owned or new. Vocational Rehabilitation, an Indiana state agency that works with the disabled community with help in finding employment, housing, work place compliance, home adaptability and many other issues, will pay for the vehicle to be adapted to me and my wheelchair, as well as the driving classes that will train me to drive the vehicle and be certified with the state of Indiana DMV.
Of course, I would love to be able to purchase and have a vehicle modified as soon as possible, but I certainly understand this process, and realize that a Go Fund Me page is a bit of a long shot. So I will just rely on the generosity of you good folks, and anything that I receive here will go toward the purchase of a vehicle.
Thank you for taking the time to take a look at this, and if you donate at all, Thank You for your generosity.
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