On July 10, 2005, when Mercy was 2 1/2 years old, her family was rear-ended by a tour bus while driving home from SeaWorld. She sustained a severe spinal cord injury (C1-C7) that rendered her quadriplegic (but with limited use of her left arm). Doctors said she would never talk or breathe on her own. But Mercy is a fighter. By God's grace, she proved the doctors wrong. She is a miracle.
Today, Mercy is a spirited, fun-loving pre-teen girl who does more than the doctors ever dreamed. She loves writing, crafting, singing, and Girl Scouts. She is a fan of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Some of her amazing accomplishments include being crowned Little Miss Wheelchair California 2011 and learning to surf with the help of Ocean's Healing Group. Mercy has her eyes set on Yale and dreams of one day opening an amusement park called "WheelchairLand."
But amongst the many victories, life is still challenging. Mercy must battle daily against the effects of her spinal cord injury. She has autonomic dysreflexia, which causes her blood pressure to spike out of control and makes it difficult for her to regulate her body temperature. She has a cyst on her spinal cord that threatens her longterm ability to breathe on her own. Renal failure causes swelling in her extremities, which can easily lead to skin breakdown.
Although she is almost 12 years old, Mercy's current power chair was made when she was 4 years old. The seat is too small, which causes her legs to hang over the edge, exacerbating swelling. About a year ago, her paralyzed arm was caught between the wheel and the inadequately small armrest, causing a severe wound on her elbow. The new chair will give Mercy independence through her teen years. It has a better seating system that fits her growing body. Gel cushions in the seat, armrests, and foot plates help to prevent skin breakdown. The chair's tilting action will allow her to elevate her feet as needed to reduce swelling.
Please consider how you might help Mercy into a better-fitting power wheelchair. Any little bit helps! Thanks in advance for your generosity and your prayers for Mercy and her family!
Here's Mercy in the chair she's had for 8 years. It's just too small!
- TOM NIEDERHAUSER
- Drew Wilkinson
- Thomas Fee
- Mandy Houk
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