Lindsay's Wheelchair Van Fund

Lindsay Clark’s Story as told by her mother:     June 2, 2002

Lindsay’s car crash occurred while she was driving back from a family gathering in Port Rowan. About a half hour from home she drove off the road at highway speed. She went down a steep embankment and hit a culvert going under a farmer’s lane-way. EMS arrived very fast. Lindsay was air lifted to Children’s Hospital in London, Ontario.
                The cause of the accident was discovered to be a heart condition called Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. It triggered a momentary black-out while Lynn was driving. Her dad and I had no idea until Lindsay was in critical care.
                I arrived at the hospital and was immediately advised to take Lynn off life support. I told them her dad and sister needed a chance to say goodbye. The attending doctor pressured us three more times in a week to take Lindsay off life support. The last time, he stated that “if she lives, she will live in a persistent vegetative state for the rest of her life.” There were a number of things that led us to give Lynn a chance to fight.
                Lindsay fought severe pneumonia in the first week. She was weaned off life-support during the second week and got up to recovery the start of the third week.
                The doctor removed the probe in Lynn’s scalp, then a nurse washed her hair with the wound still open. Lindsay then contracted hospital-induced bacterial meningitis and ran fevers of 43 degrees Celsius. Her dad sponged her down at night and I sponged her down during the day. Lindsay began to recover.
                Lindsay was in a coma for 8 weeks and in the hospital for 8 months. We were advised to put her in long-term care. Instead, we took Lynn home and provided her with therapy. I raised Lindsay all over again, teaching her how to eat, brushing her teeth, and so on.
                Over the years, Lindsay suffered from hydrocephalus. She required a shunt operation that lead to three neuro surgeries in 3 and a half weeks. Lindsay received two bad shunts from a bad batch of shunts. This triggered severe mania. I thought Lynn was never come home again. She was in the hospital for five months.
                Since that time, Lynn has experienced phenomenal recovery. We have a full-sized wheelchair van that we got in 2003. This van has been the means for taking Lindsay for therapies in London, Toronto, and Waterloo. Lindsay has no back break (or spinal cord injury) at all; not even a crack. Her inability to walk is due to a lack of oxygen in the first 24 hours. She was on a powerful medication to deepen the coma. It had to be switched after 24 hours. During the switch, ¾ of the basal ganglia were destroyed. Her doctor feared she would have locked-in syndrome. This is something, fortunately, that never happened.
                The van is 14 years old now. IT is rusting out and leaking. The lift will not see another winter. The only reason it has lasted this long is because of Lindsay’s very talented dad, Larry. He has honed his innate talent for maintenance and repair to an expert level; attested to by professionals.
                We are in great need of a wheelchair van, but cannot afford to buy one. Lindsay no longer requires such a large vehicle to get around. We are hoping to raise funds for a Dodge Grand Caravan. This vehicle would be significantly cheaper on gas. To take Lindsay to London twice a week for Physiotherapy costs $85 per session, 8 sessions = $680 a month. Gas for the van costs $150 per tank and we get about 500km per tank.
                Without a new vehicle Lynn’s therapy comes to a stop. She would be unable to visit family who live farther away. Hiring a wheelchair van for in-town trips costs $16 round trip. The costs for travel without our own vehicle are prohibitive.
                Lindsay is only 32 years old and likes going to “The Grateful Heads” a social group for people with brain injuries in Stratford, Ontario where we live. That trip costs $16 to rent the wheelchair cab. A 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan wheelchair van is $35,000. A 2012 van is going for $44,000. A new vehicle is about $55,000. Cost of conversion alone (adding the wheelchair lift) is $30,000.
                We are hoping to raise any funds we can as soon as possible to help pay for the cost of a new van and conversion to make it wheelchair accessible!

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Laura Clark
Stratford, ON

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