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Mobility Awareness Month Featured Client Dorothy Gromes – Canton, OH

Dorothy Gromes contracted Polio at the age of 5 weeks in 1950. She is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #9

Dorthy's Story:

I am not a hero.

The heroism came from my family when they were ‘blessed’ with a baby who contracted Polio at the age of 5 weeks in 1950 – the youngest to have it and live. The prognosis of death was not a possibility to Dad so he made a deal with God: “Let her live and I will carry her on my back the rest of her life and serve You through the Church.” His wish was granted. NEVER was there a hope I would walk but Dad & Mom & my 5 brothers and sisters worked together to teach this child (me) to walk with braces on all limbs. At 5 years of age, one brace on my right leg was sufficient to allow me to walk, even though the affected areas were still weak.

Throughout my life, I was encouraged to be independent. I was told I could do anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. It worked. As Dad taught my siblings sports, he included me. I got my first ball glove @ 9 and by 10 could throw a mean curve ball and hit one further than most kids in the neighborhood. But I had to hit a double to make it to first base (lol). In basketball, I was Jerry West and my bro was Wilt Chamberlain as we played for hours in the driveway. In football, I caught my bro’s punts and was his QB as he practiced his routes.( unknowingly,this was my PT) I fell a lot in the snow on my way to school but not once did I accept help coz I had to learn that not always would there be someone around to help. (Thanks, Mom xx)

I learned to drive left-footed, worked in a retail store as I went to college and ended up working for The Hoover Company for 30 plus years.

I knew the Polio would catch up to me. So, here I sit in a wheelchair 30 years AFTER I was supposed to. I live in my own apartment with little help coz I’m so stubborn and independent. I was taught NEVER to feel sorry for myself. And I don’t. Things could be a lot worse.

So, as you see, I am not a Hero. My family is. Everything good about me is because of them. Anything bad is me.

You can vote for Dorothy here:


Mobility Awareness Month Featured Client Stephen Bingman – Nashville, TN

33 year old Steve Bingman has lived with Muscular Dystrophy all his life. He is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #8

Stephen's Story:

Hello, my name is Steve Bingman. I am 33 and have lived with Muscular Dystrophy all of my life. Although my disability affects every aspect of my life I have learned that it does not have to define who I am as a person. I live in Tennessee with my wife of three years and we have been Foster Parents for almost a year now. After obtaining my Master’s Degree we moved to Nashville for my job in which I help disabled veterans obtain employment.

As a person with a disability I constantly strive to not let my disability hold me back from accomplishment. While I have been blessed with accomplishment I will easily admit that it has not been easy (my daily pain reminds me of that). I feel it’s very important that I show others with and without disabilities that everyone has the ability to reach a goal if they truly want it.

Winning this contest would mean a lot to my wife and me. Besides the daily trips to and from work a new van would allow me additional freedom to be the best Foster Parent I can be. I would also be able to travel to see my family more often. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and I hope you will support me with your daily vote.

You can vote for Stephen here:


Mobility Awareness Month Featured Client Linda Stearns – Oak Lawn, IL

Linda Stearns, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, is a full time advocate and volunteer. She is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #7

Linda’s daughter nominated her mother as her hero:

A hero is someone who illustrates courage or noble qualities. My mother, Linda Stearns, exemplifies what a true hero is. At the age of 17, my mother began volunteering at Misericordia Chicago . While there, she met my “brother,” Charlie who was 9 months old and suffered from spina bifida and hydrocephalus. She was told to not get attached, because he would not live past the age of 2. That didn’t stop her.

At the age of 21, Charlie came to live with my mother permanently and this past November, he turned 49 years old. In November of 1984, shortly after my 3rd birthday my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She accepted the fact that she could beat her disease or it would beat her. With that mentality, she persevered in every aspect of her life and chose to become a full time advocate and volunteer.

Almost 21 years ago, she became the unofficial adoptive grandmother to a set of quadruplets whom she watched, free of charge, while their mother worked as a waitress. She continued caring for not only herself, but me, both my elderly and ailing grandparents and Charlie. Over the years, she has volunteered with the Cook County Multiple Sclerosis Chapter as a member and supporter, the Garden Center for the Handicapped, Mt. Zion Lutheran Church along with Galilee Baptist Church and Homeless Center.

She loans her accessible van, despite its condition, to those in need including a complete stranger, who wanted to transport his mother from a nursing home for the holidays. She bakes for PADS, which serves the homeless, attends Honor Flight Chicago to support veterans and rearranges flowers from local funeral homes, which she delivers to patients in hospitals and nursing homes – sometimes not even knowing the patient herself. In 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which didn’t stop her from helping others. She continued to do volunteer work and help others. She took in an elderly family friend, with no immediate family and cared for her for the remaining years of her life. My mother is a person who doesn’t stop living life because of her disease – she pushes harder – embraces life – for herself and everyone around her. She is not only my hero, but one for many – family, friends and even strangers.

You can vote for Linda here:


Mobility Awareness Month Featured Client Karen Hedges– Tecumseh, MI

Christine is a special needs adult. She has had multiple health challenges her entire life.  She is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #6

Christine’s mother Karen nominated her daughter as her hero:

Christine is a special needs adult. She has had multiple health challenges her entire life. Being developmentally delayed with a speech impediment, has a rare disease called Diamond- Blackfan Anemia, a bone marrow failure syndrome, and has to have red blood transfusions once a month. Due to this treatment she has hemosiderosis (iron overload) and is on a chelation program where she has to wear a pump 10 hours 4 days a week to eliminate the iron in her body. She also suffers from cerebral palsy, hip issues, and osteoporosis and osteopenia of the lumbar spine.

When she was younger her dad and I would just lift her into the van but now it is a bit more difficult. This year we finally saved enough money to install a walk-in-tub as it was difficult getting Chrissy into the tub. I (mom) have been her primary caretaker for 36 years. I also have issues of my own now having had surgery on my cervical spine and have arthritis of both hips which limits lifting of Chrissy.

Chrissy is pretty much home bound. Her dad helps when we need to go to U/M Hospital for her treatment. As much as Chrissy tries to help in getting into the van, even with her dad’s help, it is tough. With a new van that could let Chrissy stay in her wheelchair and be put into the van would allow us to be able to be more active in our community and in visiting family and friends.

Bill (Chrissy’s dad) is employed at Kroger and has been working there for many years. He stayed working there because it offered health insurance which Chrissy needed. I do not work outside the home I stay at home and care for Chrissy. The present van has no lift and has seen better days. It is needing repairs yearly to keep it going. It has many miles on it. Unfortunately, a new front load washer, refrigerator and repairs for the kitchen need to get done. So it may be a quite few years before I can afford both a van payment plus insurance. It would be awesome to maybe take a vacation something I cannot remember doing since Chrissy was much younger. Having a safe vehicle could make this a possibility. Thank you.

You can vote for Christine here:


Gavin’s Playground Project


Chasing Rainbows

Gavin's Playground Project is a major fundraiser inspired by the life - and death - of Gavin Leong. To mark the one year anniversary of his passing, Gavin's Mother decided to hold a fundraiser to build an "all abilities" playground at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

The event is on April 5, 2014 and will be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA in Hall E.
You must buy a ticket in advance. The doors open at 5:30 so you can check in, find your assigned table, mingle around, get a drink, etc. There will be a buffet dinner starting at 6. Tickets are $25.00

Anyone around the world can participate in the silent auction, utilizing mobile technology. Here are a few of the auction items to get you excited...

  • Guest Pilot in a real military fighter
  • A luxurious family trip for four to any participating Ritz-Carlton Residence at your choice:
  • St. Thomas, USVI
    Aspen, Vail, Colorado
    Lake Tahoe, California
    Jupiter, Florida

  • Sixty Minutes with 60 Minutes in New York City
  • Unique, hand-signed, gallery-quality Giclee print of an original oil painting by Sean Roach
  • A KidWalk by Prime Engineering
  • A Courtney Bed by Cyr Designs!
  • Three Communication Apps from "Speak For Yourself!"

For tickets, click HERE. Thanks to some generous sponsors, the event is nearly fully funded... which means that 95% of your ticket price will go directly to the playground project! For directions, click HERE.

To learn more about the event and silent auction mobile technology, Click:

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