Hi all! My name is Chris. I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a neurodegenerative disease that has left me unable to move my body. I also have a tracheostomy and a ventilator to help me breathe, which makes talking a challenge.
To communicate and do other various tasks, I require an eye-tracking computer system to interact with the digital world. It's my way of having the world available to me, a world that is typically inaccessible for someone with a severe physical disability. Unfortunately, my current system is dated and not up to the standards many apps require these days. I volunteer with a local political organization and in this COVID-19 era, that means a lot of Zoom meetings which my system struggles to run.
Gaming is also a big part of my life, a part I had basically lost for years, outside of vicarious participation watching friends & family or YouTube/Twitch personalities I like play. In early 2021, thanks to improvements in streaming services like Steam Remote Play and a small bit of ingenuity, I was able to play games again using just my eyes! It can be a challenge and some games will always be inaccessible, but being able to play anything has been incredible. Unfortunately, my current eye-tracking tablet PC struggles with the streaming client, so even if I had a top-tier gaming PC on the other end, there's still going to be issues. My tablet only has a 1.1 gHz processor, so the eye-tracking and game streaming taxes it greatly and causes slowdowns.
These systems cost much more than my yearly SSI income. I try to save, but with less than $800 a month and expenses to pay for, I can never reach the average cost of $12,500. I was able to purchase my old system through inheritance money (about the price of a car), money which is now long gone, having been split by family. Medicaid will not help pay for it, because I can still talk, albeit with difficulty, and doesn't see the need for a communication device, even if it means vastly better quality of life for me.
Any donation amount or even just a share on Social Media is a little bit of help towards that goal and to ensure I am able to continue having some semblance of freedom, independence and connection to the outside world.