"Jeff Santee needs accessible home"

Hello, my name is Jeff Santee. I created this go fund me page to bring attention to my current living situation. I'm a quadraplegic and  need help renovating a ranch home to make it wheelchair accessible.   

I have been paralyzed 26 years this month, and until now Gina (my significant other) & I have managed to be self sufficient.  We have never asked for charity or assistance over the years.  Both of us have worked hard our entire lives and did very well considering our circumstances.

Gina & I bought our first home 1998.  It is a big Victorian built in 1887.  We made the downstairs living space as accessible as possible and did lots of remodeling.  We both enjoyed living in this beautiful old home and raising our family here. 

The past 5 years have been really difficult for both of us, we desperately need to downsize, live in a home that is wheelchair accessible & easier to maintain.

My Story:
In 1991 I was 20, had a 1 month old son,  a full time job I loved, and was engaged to Gina my high school sweetheart.   Little did I know that on 9/18/91 my life would be changed forever.   My car was in the shop and I borrowed my Mom's car.  On that day I left work, picked up Gina & our son, and went for a ride to pick up my car.   My Mom was living with her boyfriend.  We were going to  pick up my car & deliver her car back to her. 

Upon arriving I noticed that she had a black eye, she said her boyfriend and her got into an argument earlier.  As we were discussing what happened, the boyfriend arrived at the house.  I confronted him about hitting my Mom.  We exchanged words, then he walked around the corner to his bedroom.  Shortly after he called me to his room , I walked down the hall expecting an apology, instead he reached behind the door & held up a gun.  The first bullet hit my neck at close range. I immediately collapsed and could not move. He continued firing until he ran out of bullets. 

Gina called an ambulance, I was rushed to the hospital and lost massive amounts of blood. After 2 days of being in a coma, Dr's told me that I suffered a spinal cord injury at C5-6.   It's been 26 years this month, since that tragic night.  

The first few years were were really tough. The guy that shot me received a minimal sentence to prison. He plead guilty, so therefore I could only sue him, & he had no assets. Therefore I never received a settlement, not a penny for a lifetime of paralysis from the chest down.  Guess you live and learn.

Since the injury I received my Bachelors degree in Health and Human Services at Syracuse University. For the past 14 years have worked part time at OCM BOCES.  Unfortunately I can't work full time due to the amount of daily care needed.  Gina also returned to college & worked full time for 15 years for a company, but was laid off a few years ago.  She is now working full time for another company.

Gina started suffering from burnout 5 years ago after 20 years of caregiving, raising a family & working full time. 

Our Victorian home requires lots of maintenance.  Our son was a big help when he was growing up. He graduated from college & now owns his own home.  We live on a corner lot that has 175 feet of sidewalks, driveway, steps, and long wheelchair ramp that need to be snowblowed almost daily in the winter.  We  are struggling maintain this large property, and it is just to much. 

Up until 2 years ago I received 15 hours M - F morning services from both a health aid & nurse. Gina covered nights & weekends.  I was hospitalized a couple of years ago & the health care agency refused to take me  back as a patient after 20+ years of service. We could not find another agency to cover me, & I refuse to go into a nursing facility.  Since then, Gina does 100% of my daily medical care.   We have been struggling to keep up with everything and it's getting harder each year.   We are now basically in survival mode. We have no choice but to simplify our lives quickly.  We decided to sell our home and buy something small, easy to maintain with lower monthly expenses.

We are in the process of buying 863 Sq Foot 1962 ranch home that will need to be renovated.   Currently I would not be able to live there, so we have decided to live in our house until the new house has a ramp, widened doorways,  and accessible bathroom.  It would not be cost effective to sell our home prior to these modifications, and rent an apartment.  Wheelchair accessible rentals are hard to come by in our area & rentals are a lot more expensive than the mortgage we are currently paying. 

I need a roll in shower, a track lift over my bed to eliminate Gina having to continue to lift me in and out of bed, and would love an open floor plan.  Also, would like to build a garage that will have an inside ramp for easy access into the house,  which will eliminate the need for Gina to clean the ice / snow off my van every morning & shovel me a path to the van.

In addition this house does not have sidewalks, is only 1 level, the yard is half the size of our current house. Eliminating all this extra work would make our lives so much easier & will hopefully help Gina recover from burnout quicker.   Finally being able to live in a home that I can fully utilize without barriers, is easier to maintain, and has cheaper monthly expenses would make both of our lives easier.  We hopefully will be able to get back to living again, instead of just keeping our heads above water. 

We are very close to realizing this dream, we just need your help to make this ranch totally wheelchair accessible.  We are closing on the house at the end of September and need to be able to get a contractor in as soon as possible.  If you could please share this with your friends and family, and remember any amount of donation is greatly appreciated.  Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

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Jeff Santee 
Baldwinsville, NY
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