Handicap Van

On October 16, 2011 I was driving home from my boyfriends house after a long night out with our friends and fell asleep driving. When I got to the hospital I was told I stretched my spinal cord at the C2 level and had to have two emergency surgeries. When I woke up days later I had hardly any movement in anything but my right arm and was told I would be a quadriplegic for the rest of my life and I would ALWAYS be dependent on someone. I was only 16, so I had no idea what that truly meant. I had an absolutely amazing support system which included my family, boyfriend, friends, and my whole town! I had so many issues that I stayed in ICU for three months and ended up getting a tear in my esophagus and my airway was blocked with scar tissue. After a year without eating, a year and three months with a trach and not being able to talk, and 25+ surgeries, I could officially REALLY begin my rehab process. I missed my whole Junior year of highschool and managed to still graduate with my class. I regained a TON of function and feeling and began doing new things to become independent. I have the most AMAZING therapists that pushed me as hard as they could because they knew I could handle it. So now, after two years and five months, I use a manual wheelchair, dress myself, shower myself, graduated, go to school full time, and do everything a "normal" 18 year old does... EXCEPT drive. I just got my license again by using a borrowed car with hand controls from the driving school I went too. I don't have a vehicle to drive and I have a lot of places to go, like therapy and doctors appointments. For me to drive, I have to get a BRAND NEW van that I'm the first title owner(that's the rule from the people who are funding my hand controls and modifications) but I can't afford it by myself. I'm blessed enough that the Bureau of Vocational rehabilitation is paying for the $90,000 modifications, but I have to pay the $30,000 for the van out of my own pocket. Every penny helps! I have to have a van because I'm too weak to lift my chair in and out of a car. This would make my life and everyone who drives me arounds life so much easier!


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Taylor Nicole Baldauf 
Saint Marys, OH
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