Whatever Happened to Tim Meredith?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TIM MEREDITH?
Short answer: Tim's dying. Not today, but sooner than he should. And he's flat broke.
I'm Alison, Tim's younger sister & care manager. I'll use this space to tell and share Tim’s story: past, present, and future.

{Tim winning Trivial Pursuit -- 2019.}

TLDR:
My brother is dying. His body is slowly killing itself. His legs are almost dead. I’m trying to do everything possible to improve his current quality of life, prepare for what’s coming and make the best of the time his body has left. PLEASE DONATE HERE

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READER'S DIGEST CONDENSED VERSION:
From birth, my 49-year-old brother Tim was timid, preferred not to speak, and had no friends. He was a skinny, straight-A student people assumed was happy alone. But scrambled signals in his brain made meeting social/emotional expectations difficult and, at times, impossible.

At 19, Tim suffered a breakdown. He spiraled into severe depression and attempted suicide. He was diagnosed with mental illness, medicated with anti-psychotics, and declared disabled; he has lived at home his entire life. His only human interaction is with my mother and his doctors.

In 2007 Tim started to decline physically; he had stroke-like collapses that did irreversible damage. He was removed from the anti-psychotic medication, but it took another 10 years to learn that he has Primary Progressive MS, similar to ALS but doesn't kill you as fast. He has almost completely lost the use of his legs.

This is a space to share Tim’s story. You can expect many updates from me, but we need help now.

Tim just got an amazing power wheelchair, thanks to Medicare, the state of Georgia, and a donation from the National MS Society. The chair is custom-fitted specifically to his condition and to meet his body’s progressing needs. But we do not have a vehicle to transport Tim's power chair; he can't use it outside the home. He continues to be isolated from the world around him.

Tim needs to leave the house. He can't leave the house without his power chair. We need a vehicle for him and Mom to get around. I want to make that happen.

Can you help? PLEASE DONATE HERE
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TIM: THE MAGNUM OPUS:
My brother Tim was born delicate. He was nonverbal until age 4 but academically gifted. He was the spindly, straight-A nerd who never talked and had no friends but was "normal enough" to be dismissed as a solitary bookworm who wanted to be alone.

In reality, he was intensely anxious, desperate to feel safe in a world that terrified him, and he felt everything "normal" kids felt. He just couldn't find the words to express himself. No one had the capacity to connect with a neurodivergent kid, so my sweet brother silently trekked through his youth and adolescence alone and ignored.
Conflicting signals in his brain and the complete absence of proper support made it impossible for Tim to meet social or emotional expectations. As long as he was quiet and doing well in school, his grownups perpetuated the denial of Tim's humanity.

At 19, Tim attempted suicide when his severe depression led to a breakdown. He was briefly admitted to a mental hospital, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Though he reported zero psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, Tim spent the next ten years heavily drugged on antipsychotic medications.

{among other awful side effects of antipsychotic meds was Tim’s zombie-like behavior and 60-pound weight gain}

It was determined (without a second opinion or input from Tim) that Tim would never be able to live a "normal" life or work alongside members of a functioning society, and therefore it was best for him to live out his life at home with our mother. He was declared legally disabled and approved for federal disability benefits. Tim spent most of the 1990s in a drug-induced fog sitting in his bedroom; his human interaction limited to the people in his house with no treatment beyond psychiatric meds, frozen as a 19-year-old recluse. Never allowed to become an adult.

In 2007 a mysterious collapse partially paralyzed the left side of Tim's body. This was the beginning of a physical decline that prompted a neurologist to question Tim's schizophrenia diagnosis and remove him from the antipsychotic meds on speculation the collapse was an extrapyramidal side-effect.

Tim was weaned off the meds and then was properly diagnosed with schizotypal disorder (STPD). It was bittersweet consolation; his mind was finally clear, but the damage to his body was irreversible and persisted despite eliminating the meds. Several years and multiple examinations culminated in a diagnosis of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, the rarest form of MS, similar to ALS but not as fast, and a particularly hard blow for someone born with low muscle tone. Fifteen years and only one FDA-approved treatment later, Tim is perfectly capable of verbal interaction but almost incapable of walking. Since his MS never goes into remission, he will gradually lose all of his motor skills, essentially becoming a lucid man trapped in his body, requiring round-the-clock care.

  • The GOOD NEWS: Thanks to Medicare and the state of Georgia, Tim finally got a motorized wheelchair custom-fitted to him, his condition, and his body’s advancing needs. This is a major game-changer! The progression of his disease is slow--it could be years before Tim loses upper-body mobility. His power chair is the gift of autonomy and a better quality of life! However long it may be.

  • The kind of BAD NEWS: Tim can only use his power chair in his neighborhood because we cannot transport it outside of the home.

  • The REALLY BAD NEWS: Tim is indigent. He literally has $300 to his name. Our parents knew 19 years before Tim was diagnosed with MS that he would be a lifelong dependent on social services. Yet, no long-term care plans were made, no savings established--nothing. MS was bad luck on top of bad parenting. This is the devastating truth I live with every day.

So here we are.

{August 2022: Tim's first time checking the mail - EVER. Just look at that excitement!}

In September 2022, I established The Timothy A Meredith Supplemental Needs Trust* to safeguard and raise funds for Tim's current and ongoing medical/financial/living needs. (Like eventually relocating Tim to New York when living with our septuagenarian mother is no longer sustainable. God help us.)

{I have never been this excited about signing a legal document.}

The 1st goal of The TAMSN trust is to raise money for a vehicle outfitted to transport Tim and his power chair.

When Tim checked the mail for the first time in his adult life, he realized he had agency. Tim can't imagine the basic freedoms that most adults take for granted. A world where he simply rolls into a vehicle locks in, and then goes about his business with his home health aide or mom at the wheel.

My brother's life has value and potential, and he deserves dignity, autonomy, and independence. I want to do everything I can to make that happen.

Can you help?
Do you have resources that might help us reach our goals?
Are you able to give? No amount is too small.
I won't give up on Tim.

Stay tuned for updates on our vehicle goal, plus stories, pictures, and videos!

Follow Tim on (his very first) Twitter and Instagram.
Reach out at [email redacted]

Thank you so much for your love and support!

{Tim: annoyed by his bossy little sister since 1975}

Enjoy this video of Tim's maiden voyage in his awesome power chair!


*All donations made through GoFundMe are deposited directly to The Timothy A. Meredith Supplemental Needs Trust to be used only for Tim's needs. Donations may also be made directly to the TAMSN trust.
  • Margaret Ross Pierce 
    • $500 
    • 3 d
  • Ann Heath 
    • $200 
    • 4 d
  • Faye Boddiford 
    • $50 
    • 6 d
  • William Francis 
    • $30 
    • 7 d
  • Victoria Corwin 
    • $100 
    • 7 d
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Alison Donnelly 
Organizer
Brunswick, GA
The T.A. Meredith Supplemental Needs Trust 
Beneficiary

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