UPDATE 8/23/2018: Please see a message from Bill Blanchard here by clicking on the "Updates" Tab
Supporting Bill Blanchard
Bill Blanchard sustained a life changing spinal cord injury playing football for San Francisco’s Riordan High School in 1970 when he was 17 years old. As a result Bill was paralyzed from the neck down and has lived the last 48 years of his life as a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Bill took on his disability the same way he played sports, with courage and determination, and has lived these years independently, graduating from, working for, and retiring from UC Berkeley, initially as an early medical retirement, and now, full retirement.
However, upon his full retirement in June Bill lost a major source of income, UC sponsored Long Term Disability payments at $900.00 per month. Bill used these funds to help pay for his daily attendant care needs required for a quadriplegic to live independently. The loss of these funds threatens Bill’s ability to live independently in his home. In addition, concurrently with this loss of income, both his needs for, and the cost of, attendant care are rising. Bill anticipated this loss of income a year before it happened and diligently cut back on his expenses at home and researched other ways to replace the income in order to pay for attendant care, through social services and public benefits, but to no avail, as the options were either disqualifying or share of cost prohibitive.
As well, recent serious illness, surgery, and hospitalizations have left Bill recovering in bed since January, and the need for attendant care increasing even further than anticipated and his newly reduced income will now barely cover the cost of basic attendant care, if that. In addition to Bill’s normal daily routine of an attendant getting him out of and into his bed into and out of his wheelchair daily, and helping with his morning and evening hygiene and medication regimes, attendant care is needed when he is bedbound to bring him meals, turn him in his bed to prevent pressure sores, help with the same daily hygienic and medication regimes but now including assistance with respiratory therapies and wound care.
Bill’s need for financial assistance is immediate and will be ongoing for attendant care and possibly other needs such as adaptive equipment for everyday living that could help mitigate some of the attendant care needs by keeping Bill healthier, back in his wheelchair, able to do more for himself without help, and out of the hospital.
Throughout Bill’s life he always thought of others before himself in his school, family, and work lives, whether through his kindness, his volunteer work, or his patient listening to our stories and complaints, and now it is our turn to think of and support Bill.