Shawnie's New Ride

My name is Terri Welch.  My cousin Shawnie Newsom has been handicapped since birth.  He has Cerebral Palsy and has never walked and never had use of his left arm.  At the age of 3 years old, Shawnie was diagnosed with a brain tumor that consumed about 1/3 of his brain.  Despite a successful operation to remove part of the tumor, Shawnie's prognosis was terminal. Doctors told his parents to not expect Shawnie to see his 4th birthday.

Shawnie had other plans.

Shawnie is now 33 years old - 30 years has passed since his surgery and even though parts of the tumor remain, he is able to talk, engage and crack jokes with the best of them!

Through the years, taking care of someone who cannot walk or move 3/4 of their body and continues to grow up has many challenges.  From special needs like wheelchairs and ramps, to finding caregivers to give his mom, Peejay, respite and trips to the doctor's office - Shawnie's needs are many.

Peejay recently went through a divorce and lost the home that had been customized for Shawnie's needs: ramps, lifts, wide doorways, accessible shower and even a special cutting board in the kitchen so Shawnie could cut an apple or make a snack without needing two hands!  They now live in a home that is not easy for Shawnie to get around in and it has been an adjustment for both of them.

Shawnie's new wheelchair needs a special van.  Right now, the nearly 11 year old van Peejay uses for Shawnie does not have the proper lift or restraints for his wheelchair.  It is unsafe for her to drive him in this vehicle not only because he is not able to be properly secured, but she has to manually PUSH him up into it. Peejay is 60 years old and is a very petite woman with her own medical issues that include degenerative discs and muscular ailments.  Because Peejay is Shawnie's mother and primary caregiver, Peejay cannot risk any phycial injury since she would then be unable to help Shawnie with his needs. 

Peejay recently researched getting a new van to help both her and Shawnie.  Services available to her would cover the cost of the customized lift for the van ($18,000 USD), but Peejay would have to pay for the cost of the used/pre-owned van which is $20,000 USD. Peejay is on a limited income following the divorce and cannot afford the van.  When Peejay told me about this, she was saying over and over again "I don't know what I'm going to do",  "How am I going to do this?" and "I can only take Shawnie to necessary appointments.  He's stuck in the house all the time now."

I am asking for your help.  I would love to say to my Auntie, "Peejay, I have the money for Shawnie's van. Look at what all these people did for you."  I know it would mean the world to her and Shawnie.

If you can spare $5 or $10, every little bit will help get this van for Shawnie.  Feel free to forward this page to anyone and everyone you know.
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Terri Welch
Santa Cruz, CA

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