Clifford West spent 26 years as a Police Officer, a job that he loved, because it allowed him to help people. He is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #19
I’m Clifford West a 56 year old disabled and retired husband, father of 4 children, with 3 grandchildren. I spent 26 years as a Police Officer, a job that I loved, because it allowed me to help people, and hopefully make a difference in the community.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with IBM, a rare, incurable, muscle disease, which has robbed me of leg and arm strength and function, causing extreme difficulty in walking, standing and making me very susceptible to falls. I was forced into retirement in 2010 as totally disabled. I’m now dependent on a power wheelchair.
Life being physically challenged with a 5 year old is an adventure. He doesn’t understand I can’t physically do some of the things he wants me to do with him. Even though I can’t carry him on my shoulders, or give him piggyback rides, we adapted my wheelchair to pull a wagon to participate in various events, and even participated in a parade with this setup. I try to spend as much time as possible with my family teaching them, no matter what, you should enjoy life.
This life challenge has made me stronger in my faith. I’m involved at my Church, locating and applying for local grants to fund a community food pantry. We also take advantage of local sales, buying in bulk, and donate to the food pantry. I have made myself available through MDA to speak with newly diagnosed IBM patients seeking answers on what to expect. I’m researching and considering starting an IBM support group. My family is committed to raising funds for MDA. We volunteer with Relentless Detroit, which raises funds for families of children with life threatening and altering diseases. My wife and I involve our children, teaching them that everyone can help someone.
Although our car is modified to carry my wheelchair on a lift outside of the vehicle, Michigan’s inclement weather, especially winter makes travel at times near impossible. Placing a cover over the chair protects it only so much, it still gets wet and dirty. The extreme cold affects the chair batteries. Last year, the tie downs failed, my chair fell off the lift, causing considerable damage, leaving me without my chair for several weeks. An accessible van would alleviate many problems and open other opportunities for me to share life with my family.
You can vote for Walter here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/clifford-west-flat-rock-mi/
Edward Bunch maintains a good attitude and strives to provide for his family. He is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #18
Edward's Wife nominated him as her hero:
Ed, my husband, is my hero. He is always here for me even with his disabilities and his illnesses. He tries to help others whenever he can, despite the fact that he is handicapped. He volunteers at church as a greeter with smiles though I know he is in a lot of pain. He visits our children and grandchildren as often as he can.
Getting hurt at a young age, there were many struggles to overcome. He maintained a good attitude and strived to provide for his family. He has helped his family anyway he could. Every opportunity he had to work resulted in a re- injury and sent him back to the hospital and rehab.
The last 10 years, his health has really gotten the best of him. Diabetes took over his life along with other health conditions. He shattered both wrists and broke his leg in 2000 while trying to manage duplexes we owned and rented out. It was his source of income for about 7 years. We had to give them up because he was unable to continue to maintain them.
In 2005, he lost his only son to a motorcycle accident. It was devastating to both of us. His health got worse and then in 2008, he fell and broke both femurs which put him in a wheelchair. He underwent several surgeries but nothing could get him to walk again. A very serious infection set in his leg and he almost had to have it amputated. The hardest thing I had to do was to agree not to let the Doctor’s take his leg, knowing what the outcome might be. At that time, he was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease.
The reason he is my hero is because I know every day he lives in so much pain. It is hard for him to get around and yet he fights to survive. He has been through more than anyone should have to. He used to go hunting, fishing and played pool. Now, he can barely get out of the house. The handicap van would really help to get him around and enjoy some of what life can offer.
He may not be a hero in the sense of saving someone’s life but he has helped me thru mine. Please vote for Ed. He needs this van and would appreciate your help in getting it.
You can vote for Edward here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/edward-bunch-toledo-oh/
Katie Sessing doesn't let her disability hold her back. She is a 32 year old single mom of two beautiful, healthy little girls, ages 5 and 2. She is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #17
Hello, my name is Katie Sessing and I am entering myself! I was born with Cerebral Palsy and have been using an electric wheelchair my whole life. I suffer from somewhat severe scoliosis. But I don’t let my disability hold me back. I’m also a 32 year old single mom of two beautiful, healthy little girls, ages 5 and 2. We don’t have a lot but we are happy. We enjoy doing anything we can…the park, Chuck E. Cheese, even Disneyland when we can afford it.
I have a 2005 Dodge Caravan that I use now. It is not wheelchair converted. We live off my SSI check so I have no money to do so. The way I enter and ride in the van now is both unsafe and very uncomfortable. I am not able to go far or travel inside vehicle for very long amounts of time. Dept. of Rehabilitation is willing to help fund a conversion but my current van is too old and has too many miles on it to be converted. Because I am such low-income at this time, I don’t think I can afford a car payment.
I would really like to go back to work now that my youngest is 2. I feel confident that I can learn to do anything entry level that I am physically able to do. I know both PC programs and Apple programs. I have good people skills and would even love to do customer service. The major thing holding me back is safe and reliable transportation for me and my daughters. I don’t drive and I do not plan on driving. Thankfully because of the care taking I am provided with, I have a licensed and insured driver to drive me wherever I need to go. But I need my own vehicle. I can not transfer out of my wheelchair. And my girls need to be transported with me both in car seats in the back seat.
I’m not sure what other information to include about myself…just that if there’s an accessible van to be given to someone that’s both in need and appreciative, I’m the person. We would be very grateful and take care of the vehicle in hopes it would last us a very long time. Thank you for your time!!
You can vote for Katie here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/katie-sessing-thousand-oaks-ca
Brianna Battle is now 15 years old and wears the sweetest smile on her face no matter what she goes through. She is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #16
Brianna's Sister nominated her as her hero:
My hero would have to be my little sister Brianna. When I was 7 years old, I found out that I not only would have my little brother of 2 years old growing up along side of me, but we would soon have a little sister! She was born in 1999 and at 6 months began having seizures. She is now 15 years old and wears the sweetest smile on her face no matter what she goes through. Brianna has had numerous surgeries, one being jaw enhancement surgery that would decrease her sleep apnia and help with seizures. The surgery has helped, but has not eliminated seizure all together. At around the ages of 5 to 7 years, Brianna had gained a pretty good vocabulary of around 100 words where she would speak the first syllable of those words to communicate with us.
Over the years of seizures, she now only uses two of those words. “MOM” and “BUBBA” are used quite regularly, as she calls both our brother and myself “Bubba”, which tickles us of course. She has the brightest spirit and has overcome so much. She has a rare chromosome disorder known as Ring 14. It caused a deletion in the 14th chromosome that made one of it wrap around the other, causing loss of DNA. Brianna can walk, but gets botox and has over the years developed tight legs and turned feet as she walks on her toes and doesn’t always have the best balance. She goes through therapy and stays so strong to keep doing what she can on good days and bad. Sometimes it is hard for her to do much when she has many seizures through the night, and she spends most of her time with our awesome mom that is her rock. Her face lights up when Daddy gets home from work and TJ, our brother who has cerebral palsy, gets home from school.
Now that I have gotten married and moved away to pursue music, I miss my whole family dearly, but I have to say the face that kept me most inspired and at peace was my little sister. She is my hero and I can’t stand being hours away from her, but it will make the visits so special! She is one of the greatest blessings God has given our family!
You can vote for Brianna here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/brianna-battle-americus-ga/
Today we share a special message of hope from MobilityWorks client Pam Holliman, a remarkable woman who has endured significant pain and suffering in her fight with diabetes. Our team in Gallatin Tennessee and the MobilityWorks financing staff helped Pam to get the van she wanted and to be totally independent.
"I would love to share my experience with others out there that are like me and never knew MobilityWorks existed and could change their lives as it did for me.
My van is a blessing. I don't have to depend on anyone. I am so mobile. I can do my own grocery shopping and go everywhere. It has been a blessing to me and I want to thank those who worked on my application and had it approved. God is so good… and I know they will be blessed.
I got sick in Oct. 2012 and stayed 5 months in the hospital and 3 months in rehab because of complications from diabetes. I went through 11 surgeries, 3 strokes and died twice from my artery bleeding out. Muscle was taken from my stomach to repair it. When I came out of the hospital my left leg was amputated above the knee.
The team at MobilityWorks in Gallatin, TN was awesome. My whole life has changed because everyone went the extra mile for me. Today I am alive with no pain. Thanks for everything."
— Pam Holliman
“FinancialWorks approved her (for financing) when other lenders would have turned her down. We truly changed Pam’s life for the better and that’s why our business is so special.”
— Theo Stratos, MobilityWorks Financing
Diabetes in the United Sates
Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. That's almost 10% of the population, including 25% of seniors. The American Diabetes Association has published a Fast Facts document containing data and statistics about diabetes (see the link below for details). You can also learn more about the ADA an how to avoid diabetes or to help others by going to www.diabetes.org.