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Whatever Happened to Tim Meredith?

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TIM MEREDITH?
Short answer: Tim's body is dying. Not today, but sooner than he should.

I'm Alison, Tim's younger sister & care manager. This is Tim’s story: past, present, and future.


{Tim laughs -- 2022.}

Tim’s Story: TLDR
Thanks to a rare form of MS, my brother’s body is slowly killing itself. His legs are almost dead. I’m doing everything possible to improve his current quality of life and prepare him for what’s coming.

******

Tim’s Story: THE READER'S DIGEST CONDENSED VERSION)
Since birth, my 49-year-old brother Tim has been timid, mostly mute, and solitary.

Scrambled signals in his brain made it difficult and sometimes impossible to meet social/emotional expectations.

At 19, Tim spiraled into severe depression and suffered a breakdown, which led to a suicide attempt. He was incorrectly diagnosed with Schizophrenia, medicated with powerful antipsychotics, and legally declared disabled; he has lived at home with our mom his entire 49 years.

In 2007 a stroke-like collapse left Tim with permanent partial paralysis on his left side. He was removed from the anti-psychotic medication, but it took another ten years to learn that he had Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis similar to ALS but much slower. He has almost completely lost the use of his legs.

The good news is I’m now in charge of Tim’s care plan. You can expect many updates from me, but we need help now.

Tim just got a fantastic power wheelchair, custom-fitted specifically to him and his body’s progressing needs. But we do not have a vehicle to transport Tim's power chair. It’s GREAT that he can independently go outside within his neighborhood, but if he can't use it outside the home, he continues to be isolated from the world around him.

My first fundraising push for Tim is a significant one, I know. But Tim deserves to live a life of quality and dignity. I want to make that happen.

Can you help?

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Tim’s Story: THE MAGNUM OPUS
My brother Tim was different from the moment he was born. A “delicate” baby with low Apgar scores in muscle tone and reflex. He was nonverbal until age 4 but academically gifted. A spindly, straight-A loner who never talked and had no friends. His “shy genius” label allowed the community to perpetuate the denial of Tim's humanity.

What no one realized was that Tim was desperate to feel safe in a world that terrified him. Although he felt everything "normal" kids felt, he could not express himself. The complete absence of early intervention services and proper support made it impossible for Tim to meet social or emotional expectations. My sweet brother trekked silently through his youth and adolescence alone and ignored.

At 19, Tim’s severe depression caused him to break from reality and attempt suicide. He was briefly admitted to a local mental hospital, where he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, even though he reported zero psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. Tim then spent over 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.}

Without a second opinion or alternative treatment efforts, it was determined that Tim would never be able to live a "normal" life or become an adult capable of contributing to a functioning society. He was declared legally disabled, approved for federal disability benefits, then spent most of the 1990s trapped in a drug-induced fog; frozen in time as a 19-year-old recluse.

In 2007 a mysterious collapse caused the left side of Tim's body to become partially paralyzed. This marked the beginning of a slow physical decline that prompted a neurologist to doubt Tim's schizophrenia diagnosis. The doctor halted Tim’s antipsychotic meds on speculation the collapse was an extrapyramidal side-effect. Tim was then properly evaluated and diagnosed with Schizotypal disorder (STPD). The diagnosis was bittersweet consolation; his mind was finally clear, but the damage to his body was irreversible and persisted despite eliminating the meds.

Several more years of physical decline and multiple examinations by an array of specialists culminated in a diagnosis of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS), the rarest form of MS, similar to ALS but much slower. A particularly hard blow for someone born with low muscle tone.

{To learn more about PPMS click this link.}

Fifteen years and only one FDA-approved treatment later, Tim is perfectly capable of verbal interaction but almost incapable of walking. Since PPMS never goes into remission, he will gradually lose all of his motor skills, and bodily functions, essentially trapped in his body, requiring round-the-clock care.

The GOOD NEWS:
Thanks to Medicare and a small grant from the National MS Society, Tim has a motorized wheelchair custom-fitted to him, and his body’s advancing conditions. 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! Tim can't imagine the basic freedoms that most adults take for granted.
When he checked the mail for the first time in his adult life, he realized he had agency.

{Click this link to see Tim’s maiden voyage in his power chair.}

The kind-of BAD NEWS:
Although we are enormously grateful he can go outside on his own, 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. Though it was decided 19 years before his MS diagnosis that Tim would be a lifelong dependent on social services, no long-term care plans were made, no savings were established--nothing. I will never be able to reconcile this devastating truth.

So here we are.

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

THERE IS HOPE!
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.)



{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.

My brother's life has value and potential and deserves dignity, autonomy, and independence. It’s up to me to do everything I can to make that happen. I can’t give up on Tim.

Can you help?
Do you have resources that might help us reach our goals?
Are you able to give? No amount is too small.

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

Follow Tim on (his very first) Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.

Reach out to me at [email redacted]

Thank you so much for your generous support!



{Tim: annoyed by his little sister since 1975}

*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.



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Donations 

  • Vic S.
    • $5 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 6 mos
  • Emily Elam
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $40 
    • 9 mos
  • Ken Lippmann
    • $500 
    • 9 mos
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Organizer and beneficiary

Alison Donnelly
Organizer
Brunswick, GA
Timothy A Meredith SNT
Beneficiary

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