On June 20, 2017, everything changed for this family. Toby was working at SC Johnson when he collapsed from a heart attack. He had an emergency 5-way heart bypass and a defibrillator implanted. Toby then suffered a post-operative stroke that required a craniotomy (surgery where part of the skull is removed) to relieve pressure on his brain. The stroke resulted in left hemiplegia, meaning Toby can't move his left arm or leg; he is also unable to sit up without support. For 4 months, Toby bounced from hospital to specialty hospital to rehab facility, back to the original hospital with pneumonia, return to rehab center before being transferred to a different rehab facility, and was finally going to return home in October.
Shortly before Toby was to return home, the rental property where the family was living burned down and they lost everything, including 2 of 3 cats. This forced an unplanned move into a completely inaccessible home. Their church family worked very hard to make the duplex livable for Toby and his family, but it still has no ramp. Toby was supposed to come home via ambulance, but they could not afford the $500 fee; family friends carried him to their car and then into the house on October 23, 2017. He and his family are thrilled to be home, but he hasn't been able to leave since then.
There are five steps to enter this house, and Toby is confined to either a hospital bed or a tilt-in-space wheelchair. He has no ability to tackle the stairs, but, as his insurance does not consider a ramp to be a medical necessity, the family must pay out of pocket. This is not a cheap addition, whether it be a pre-fab aluminum ramp or a wooden ramp that requires permits and building in accordance with regulations. Toby has additional home and equipment needs, such as an accessible bathroom and a power wheelchair, but the ramp is, by far, the most pressing concern.
Toby has had a brief home visit from a rehab doctor who was kind enough to come on a Saturday. Other than that, he has not seen a doctor since he’s been home. His primary care physician has not seen him since April 2017. He needs follow up appointments with all of his doctors, including his cardiologist and neurologist. He is still missing the bone flap that was removed following his stroke to relieve the pressure on his brain. Toby desperately needs to be able to get out of the house to address his many serious health concerns.
Friends and family have been incredibly generous already in helping the Morones family after they lost everything in the fire. Please dig deep to help a little bit more. Every dollar counts. Over half of the funds will go toward the ramp and its installation. Any additional funds will go toward projects such as the bathroom remodel. Although sponge baths are adequate, can you imagine going months without a shower? No thanks. Hopefully insurance will cover his power wheelchair (also can’t get this without a ramp!) and the necessary splints/orthoses that his hemiplegia require, but there’s no guarantee.
This is such a remarkable family. Toby isn’t a big talker, but he has a sense of humor that can sneak up on a person, and has handled the abrupt and permanent change in his life’s trajectory with more aplomb than many of us would manage. Aisha is a rock: she is the primary caregiver for both Toby and their daughter and never gets a vacation. Despite so much stress and responsibility on her shoulders, she is unfailingly kind, patient, funny, and ready with a cup of hot cocoa. Their daughter is clever and athletic and seemingly a close relative of the Energizer Bunny. Toby’s mother is a frequent presence in the home, providing support and assistance wherever she can. Pokey, the surviving cat, is shy and a bit standoffish, but comes out from under the bed eventually.
Please, at the very least, help Toby get out of the house so he can finally follow up with all of his doctors and avoid any further catastrophic health complications. It would also be awesome for him to see his daughter play soccer, go to dinner with his wife, and just get some fresh air. This family has been through enough. You can help move their story in a more positive direction by making a donation.
Thank you and God Bless you all!
- Bernard Cheney
- Joel & Lori Casterton
- Ann Stefka
Organizer and beneficiary
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