Please help us get a wheelchair van

Chris is a light in the world. She was an amazing hair stylist for 40 years. She provided beauty for so many cultivating friendships over the course of her career. Chris also earned a Masters in Counseling dedicating her life to helping thousands recover from drug and alcohol addiction, sharing her own experiences of over 30 years of recovery. She is a mother, grandmother, wife, sister, friend and inspiration.

Chris was diagnosed with bulbar onset ALS in 2013. Her initial progression was remarkably slow and she was able to enjoy her time with family and friends, traveling to see some of the sights she had wanted to experience in the United States.  She is a talented artist and has been able to continue her painting finding new techniques that allow her to paint within the limitations of her weakened hands. Chris has been blessed with her ability to enjoy life in spite of this awful disease.

In the last year, Chris's progression has picked up speed. It has  become harder and more dangerous to walk and she has had up to a dozen falls.  Her doctor recommended a power chair. She now has this power chair but no way to transport it. ALS forced her to retire from counseling and she is no longer able to cut hair. She is on disability and has very limited resources. Chris gets state funded caregiver assistance 20 hours a week while I am at work.

My name is Shaunna, I am Chris's long term partner of 12 years.
Through the course of her illness I have been supporting us both and there isn't any extra. I have had to file bankruptcy and I have no resources to even finance or trade in my vehicle. I am asking  for help to raise funds to purchase a used wheelchair van so she can continue to get around with her new power chair. 

Chris is the love of my life and it has been soul wrenching to watch this disease take her body in such a cruel manner. She was always the light of the party, dancing and laughing and spreading her joyous love of life with whoever she was with. When I met her she used to say "I came to live out loud" and "I'm not going to let the Devil steal my joy". She has done her best to live up to this, ALS is a cruel fate for a light such as her.

It is my goal to make sure Chris can continue to enjoy life as much as possible with small trips to the beach or to visit family. A van would also make it possible for her to go to the store and doctors easier and safer. There is no way to predict how long she will be able to continue to do this, so in my opinion the need is urgent. Any help you can contribute to make this happen for her is greatly appreciated. 
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Shaunna Stelzenmueller
Portland, OR

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