Here is Anita’s story. In May 1984, Anita contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome and, in an instant, went from being a healthy, active 29-year-old mother of a toddler to being totally paralyzed, unable to even breathe unassisted. It was questionable if she would even survive. However, she fought through and spent a year in the hospital. The following three years, with her marriage ending, she relied on the help of her family to take care of her son while she spent countless hours doing physical and occupational therapy and learning new employment skills. (Prior to her illness, she was employed at Clapp & Treat, worked her way through college, and, upon graduation, was made their first Office Manager.)
In 1987, despite being a quadriplegic (and needing a personal-care aide), Anita began a new career as a full-time computer programmer with a major insurance company, splitting her work time between home and office. As a result, she was able to purchase a home where she raised her then 6-year-old son as a single mother. (She continues to live in that same house today.) She eventually had to leave the corporate world due to continuing health issues, but was able to convert a part-time hobby (begun at age 20) into a successful business buying and selling antiques. With the advent of eBay in the late 1990s, she opened Cousins Antiques online (now on Ruby Lane).
Several months ago, her 10-year-old minivan broke down, and the needed repairs are not cost-effective. Anita has driven handicap-accessible vans for 20 years (each lasting for 10 years). Although her business is online, she relies on her retrofitted minivan to purchase inventory, service her booth at a local antiques mall, and network with the antiques community. She also travels extensively to acquire both inventory and knowledge of antiques and other cultures. For example, several years ago, she took a cross-country trip where she was able to attend a Tiffany Art Glass Exhibit in Missouri and also learn about the jewelry of the Southwest in Oklahoma and Arizona. As a result, she has since built a business following for Southwest jewelry.
Without a working van, her business will fail. The CT Bureau of Rehabilitation Services will cover the cost of retrofitting, but Anita has to purchase the new van. Since the recent economic downturn has reduced her income by half and she is currently living off of her Social Security, Anita cannot afford the monthly payments on a new van, so she needs to make as large a downpayment as possible. The type of retrofit and equipment that Anita requires means that the new van must be a Dodge Grand Caravan. The cost of a new van is approximately $35,000, so we are hoping to raise as much of that as possible to keep her monthly payments low. Anything you can contribute will be greatly appreciated. It would also be wonderful if you'd be willing to share Anita’s story and post the Go Fund Me link on your Facebook,Twitter or any other social media accounts you use. Thanks to all of you.
- Chris flint
- DL Vintage-Antique
- Layne Maaz
- Edna Schuligoj
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