My name is Lindsay Stefanko. I am 38 years old and suffer from spastic dysplasia cerebral palsy, which I have had since birth. My disability left me unable to walk. Despite having such a debilitating disability, I have had a great life with support and encouragement from family and friends, whom without I would not be where I am today. I have never let my disability or adversities get in the way of my independence and happiness.
Currently, I live on my own with the companionship of my PAWS dog, Tinsel. We go to work Monday through Friday at a law office in Novi, Michigan, where I have been employed for ten years doing data entry, making phone calls, and other office tasks. I get to work using a 2009 Toyota Scion, which was purchased working through Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS). The Scion was reconfigured into a handicap vehicle so I could use my electric wheelchair as the driver’s seat. They retrofitted it so I’m able to drive my wheelchair right into the driver’s seat spot. The wheelchair locks in and I drive my vehicle using hand controls. I am heavily dependent on my vehicle to get to work, to get groceries, etc. Without it, I am unable to maintain my independent lifestyle.
Unfortunately, my vehicle is quite damaged and worn. I frequently have to take it in for repairs and I’m in need of a newer one. I started the process to obtain a new car in April of this year and reached out to MRS again. Over the past five months, MRS has been giving me a difficult time. Although my disability and job make me eligible for their services and help, they keep making excuses as to why they can no longer help me.
As I said previously, I have never let my disability or adversities get in the way of my independence; however, my income is limited and my medical bills take up a lot of the income I do make, so I’m asking for some help from others to obtain the funds needed to purchase a newer vehicle and have the vehicle retrofitted to accommodate my hand control and modification needs.
I am asking for monetary donations for a modified minivan much like my Scion, which would cost $35,447 off the lot, then an additional $45,000 to retrofit the vehicle with either a power rear or side ramp entry with a lowered floor, automatic lockdown system (Easy Lock), so my wheelchair can fit into the vehicle.
While these figures might appear astronomical, they are actual numbers I got through researching the options available to me. The cost is just a fraction of what it costs to keep someone like myself with a disability such as cerebral palsy independent, mobile, and living on my own.
One of my greatest accomplishments has been being able to take care of myself. My disability is only a physical one and I want to continue to work and take care of my everyday living duties. Being able to drive is a big piece of that puzzle and I’m asking my family and friends to please help me maintain my independence and standard of living by donating to the fund to help me obtain a modified, hand-controlled van.
Thank you for reading my story and for considering support for my cause. To help me get the word out, you can share my link to your Facebook Timeline!
My name is Emily (Stefanko) Goodman and I am Lindsay's younger sister. Lindsay's courage and perseverance has always been a great example to me. Together with my family, we decided to reach out to help Lindsay persevere when the State of Michigan wants to tell her "no." Thank you for taking the time to read, share, and donate.