Support Susie (Michaud) Doody after Spinal Stroke

Dear Friends,

Those of you fortunate enough to know Susie already realize she is one of the most kind, thoughtful, generous and loving people you could ever meet.  Susie truly has a heart of gold and is always the first to help others – family, friends, strangers, stray animals and plants included!  She is always there for others in their time of need, as she was for our family when she helped care so lovingly for our Mom.  Susie is a devoted wife to my brother Rick, a wonderful Mom to Ross, and a doting “Mimi” to her granddaughter Paisley, and the best “big sister” I could have ever wished for! 

On Tuesday, January 28, 2020 Susie experienced a life changing medical event.  And sadly, she and her family are now in great need of help from others.  

After a week of symptoms which puzzled doctors, Susie developed excruciating back pain, and suddenly was paralyzed from the waist down.   She was rushed to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  An MRI showed she suffered a spinal stroke.  She spent the next 11 days between the neuro ICU and specialty unit.  Spinal strokes account for less than 1% of all strokes.  Her case was so rare her team conferred with top specialists around the country as they struggled to manage her care. 

On February 8, we were fortunate to get Susie transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Spinal Cord Injury Center in Boston.  She undergoes up to 6 hours of aggressive PT/OT rehab and related classes most days.  She is making small but steady strides thanks to their amazing medical team and facilities!  But she remains dependent on the staff for assistance with transfers, bathing and personal care, and is largely wheelchair bound.  This hasn’t deterred her.  She has been effectively using her wheelchair to spread joy to other patients and staff on the unit, earning her the nickname “Susie Sunshine”!

She has a long and difficult road ahead, but her spirit, faith and outlook are amazing.  She is so courageous and determined to regain as much function as possible, and someday to walk once gain.  But for now, Susie and Rick must prepare for a discharge home in the very near future.   

Their current home is older and would require enormous modifications to widen doorways and hallways, major updates to bathroom, kitchen and installation of several ramps or stairlifts to make it wheelchair accessible.  These costs could easily pass $25,000.  The other option requires they sell their home and move to a more handicap-accessible dwelling, but such a unit has been difficult to find in their home area to date.  And time is of the essence.

They will have other significant costs.  Susie will require a custom wheelchair which is $5000 (this may be covered all or in part by insurance).  But most of the assistive and adaptive devices she will require i.e. braces, ramps or stairlifts, shower and transfer benches, raised toilet seats, walkers, grab bars and other tools and installation costs are not covered.  She will also need home nursing care, personal care assistants, ongoing rehab services from PT and OT, and transportation to medical appointments in a handicapped accessible vehicle.  

Unfortunately, Susie is currently unable to work and was carrying the health insurance for her family.  It is unclear how long she will continue to have coverage.  Rick’s ability to work as a small business owner will also be significantly impacted as he will be Susie’s primary caregiver.  His business is also being directly impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis.   Despite some disability insurance coverage their income will be dramatically reduced, and they will be faced with insurmountable expenses.

Any donations made to #TeamSuzieQ will be used to support the following:

1)     Discharging Susie to a safe, handicapped accessible home or apartment. This would include costs for construction and/or modifications to a home/apartment to ensure it meets ADA requirements and is handicapped accessible, and if required, associated moving expenses to said home/apartment, and installation of stair lifts and/or wheelchair ramps.

2)     Assistance with costs of medical, therapeutic and supportive care services including medical appointments, home nursing, health aide and homemaker services, rehab OT/PT, therapeutic and related care providers. 

3)     Costs of any adaptive and assistive devices and accessories, including wheelchairs, braces, walkers, shower benches, accessible clothing/shoes as recommended by PT and OT or other medical providers.

4)     Costs of handicapped/wheelchair accessible transportation services and if needed long term, a handicapped accessible vehicle.

5)     Costs of insurance premium and or co-payments so that her medical coverage and treatments will not be interrupted.

6)     If the above medical and home needs are being met and a surplus of funds exists, at the administrator’s discretion funds could be directed to offsetting the cost of rent/mortgage, taxes and utilities in the setting of their potentially reduced income.

Thank you in advance for your generous support of Susie and her family!   And please spread the word about her Go Fund Me Page!

 #TeamSuzieQ  #SupportSusieSunshine  <3



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Fundraising team: #TeamSuzieQ #Support SusieSunshine (2)

Joan Parise 
Raised $2,025 from 16 donations
Westford, MA
Mike Doody 
Team member
Raised $1,035 from 10 donations
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