Mobility for Berenice


In Houston, we have experienced unprecedented and catastrophic flooding that we have never experienced in our history. Millions were affected by flood waters, yet I want to tell you the story about one amazing and beautiful person whose life was radically changed when the flood waters entered her home and destroyed her power wheelchair.

In high school, we called her Idalia. She was a big voice in a small structure. These days, if you meet her, she will probably say, “Hi, I’m Berenice.” The name she goes by has changed, but her personality hasn’t changed a bit. She is kind, loving, generous, a force of nature, and someone who changes lives every day. I know this because she is my twin brother’s best friend. Matthew would not be half the man he is today without Berenice’s big voice and love and guidance. I have known Berenice more than half my life. I can remember the day she invited me, a shy girl who couldn’t pronounce her R’s who people only knew as the sister of the class clown, to her lunch table. We had met earlier that day in class, and she could tell I was already struggling with being a bit awkward and a bit different. All the characteristics I have mentioned above do not mention her wheelchair because being in a wheelchair was never the thing that made her stand out; it was only the equipment she used to help her get from classroom to classroom. She didn’t let anything stop her, including having Spinal muscular atrophy type 2 (SMA II).

Now, some might know what SMA II is, but for those that don’t, it is an inherited condition that affects the muscles. It is characterized primarily by progressive muscle weakness that develops in children between 6 and 12 months. Children affected by SMA II can sit without support; however, they cannot stand or walk unaided.

Today, Berenice, works for Lone Star as a parent navigator, helping families navigate through higher education. She is also a case manager at a private clinic. She has her MA in clinical psychology and her LCDCI. She is a big voice in a small structure. Her wheelchair still doesn't define her, but it is how she gets around in the world and lives her life.

I’m calling on friends, family, and the kindness of strangers to help get Berenice a new ‘used’ wheelchair. She was rescued from her flooding home with her family and two dogs by a canoe. She had no choice but to leave her power wheelchair behind. For the first four days after getting out of the floodwater, she sat in a chair, not being able to move. Currently, she is borrowing a very large power chair moveable by foot pedals she can't reach. She must rely on others. Her best option is a used C300 Corpus 3G Compact Chair, currently retailing at about 25K-30K.

Her insurance company is not likely to purchase her another one; the power chair she left behind took several appeals to secure. Her house insurance is also not likely to get her a new power wheelchair. We are looking for help in two ways: financial donations and information on any DME company that might consider providing a lower price wheelchair.

Please consider helping Berenice, the woman with a big voice in a little structure.

GoFundMe is requesting this specific information be on the front page of any Hurricane Harvey recipients:

Name/Location of Fundraiser: Olivia-Beth Horak; Austin, Texas.

Relationship to Beneficiary: Berenice is a friend from high school and twin brother, Matthew's best friend.

How the funds will be spent: Purchase of a C300 Corpus 3G Compact Chair pictured below.

Withdrawal plan to get the funds from the campaign to the ultimate beneficiary: Berenice is listed as the full beneficiary of all monies and is the only person able to withdrawal from this campaign. 


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  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Alex Hillard 
    • $10 
    • 42 mos
  • Andy Castro 
    • $300 
    • 42 mos
  • Direct Impact Fund 
    • $611 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 42 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Olivia-Beth Horak 
Spring, TX
Berenice Rodriguez 
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