For those who don’t know, I am a wheelchair user myself due to having osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bones and being a little person. There was no question that when Roel got out of the hospital, he was coming to live with me because my house is accessible. He had previously been living in a century old row home in Baltimore City that was the total opposite of accessible.
Due to the fact that they needed to do 3 surgeries to remove the entire infection, Roel was left with a very large open wound at the end of his stump. They were able to save his knee but the wound didn’t completely close until the very end of October. Prior to all of this, ironically, Roel was a school bus driver for special needs children, all of which had severe disabilities and used wheelchairs. It is going to be a long time until Roel is able to return to the job he loves. He was awesome at his job. Many of the parents of his “kids” have reached out to him and asked about his recovery. They said no bus driver ever took such great care of their children as Roel did.
The next step is to get him fitted for a prosthetic leg. This process is going to take 6 to 8 weeks It will be even longer until he is able to fully function with it and return to work. His small disability payments are going to end within the next month. We have already been struggling to pay medical bills and for other equipment he needs that is not covered by insurance.
Once thing that Roel desperately needs to a wheelchair meant for full time use. Currently he is using a causal use type chair that is starting to fall apart. We have been using duck tape, extra screws and various other methods to keep the chair functioning. Due to some previous medical conditions, Roel will always need a wheelchair as a backup to his prosthetic leg. We are trying to come up with the money to buy him a chair that not only fits him but also has the correct seating. The chair he is currently using causes him endless back pain from the poor fitting of the chair.
We were very slowly putting money aside for his wheelchair and our wedding next August. I cannot wait to be his wife. We are planning a very moderate wedding due to the expense. Unfortunately, the money is going to be depleted in the next couple of weeks due to a car accident we were in on Black Friday. Thankfully no one was injured but my specially equipped van is currently not driveable. Also, due to the customizations and the fact that it has a wheelchair ramp, we are without an accessible vehicle. I had a high deductible on my insurance policy and we will need to use the money saved for the repairs.
The reason I am writing this fundraiser is for Roel. I want to see him be able to get a wheelchair that he is comfortable in as well as easy to get around. Unless you are a wheelchair user, it is truly hard to convey just how important a custom made wheelchair is. He selfishly told me to use the money we had saved for him to get the repairs done to my van. I want to give back to him, the love of my life, for being so selfless. Getting a wheelchair that he is able to sit in for several hours at a time, will also allow him to go back to work in some capacity while he gets trained on using the prosthetic leg.
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