My brother-in-law Bill is her devoted, selfless, loving, care giver. They live off mostly Social Security. He is also still working in his 70's to make ends meet. He is a Saint. Life is challenging for them both. It takes an astounding amount of effort just to get her to and from a car or from point A to B. Not to mention the extraordinary energy and strength required to attend to her daily care.
Laraine has had various health issues over the past thirty years that have gradually left her wheelchair-bound. First was a neck surgery at the top if her spine to remove a benign tumor and then a second one to correct the first. Those surgeries left her with chronic pain. A few years later she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and, as it does for so many other people, she deals with spasticity, weakness, fatigue and nerve pain. She eventually needed a walker to get around. She then had a fall which broke her ankle so badly that pins were placed there for stability. To this day she must use an ankle brace to steady herself enough to stand and transfer.
During these several years of declining health, pain management became difficult. For some years now, she has had a pain pump delivering medication in a safer manner. Even with that she cannot manage all the pain. About a year and a half ago, she underwent an eleven-hour scoliosis spine surgery. While its main purpose was to extend her life and to assure proper breathing could continue, it has not made her mobility better as we all hoped it would. If anything, she is more immobile.
Fortunately, she has Medicare and the ability to scrape enough money together each month for a good supplemental insurance policy, As many of you may already know, there are limits to what these policies will cover. Thankfully Medicare has provided a motorized chair for her as well as a few other pieces of equipment. She does not qualify for in-home healthcare or long-term care in a facility. That is a decision for a later time.
Through all of this, Laraine has maintained good spirits, a sense of humor and purpose. Sadly, the only trips away from her recliner (where she lives her life) are generally to doctor's appointments. We, as her family, so wish more for them both. Quality of life and the ability to get out more. She and Bill have a decent, but aging, van to transport her as long as she can stand and move enough to transfer into the car. That is becoming more difficult. She is at a point where she should be accessing her motorized chair and driving it into a vehicle. That requires a specially designed vehicle. The conversion kit alone for something like that is $25,000 and then there is the cost of the vehicle itself. The total cost for a used, converted van is approximately $40.000 to $50,000 and can be difficult to find. Their old, high mileage car is not a candidate for conversion.
I'm asking you to partner with me in this campaign to raise $15,000 to help towards a purchase of a specially designed transportation van for Laraine and the equipment needed to adapt her wheelchair for safe transport and attachment.
This will aid in her ability to access the healthcare she desperately needs, to visit family and to improve her quality of life. I know this is a lofty goal, but any small amount will add up and help in a big way. If we should be so fortunate as to raise additional funds, that will gratefully ease the overall purchase cost of the van.
Please partner with me today and share this campaign with all of your family and friends.
Myself and the rest of the family thank you from the bottom of our hearts. ♥♥♥
- Phyllis Culley
- Bernie and Jill Asbell
- Keith Melton
- Doreen Griffiths
Organizer and beneficiary
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