John Wirth has such a positive attitude for having such a challenging disability. He is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #13
John's Brother nominated him as his hero:
My big brother John Jr. is my hero and the most incredible person I know. He was born with Cerebral Palsy and has been in a wheel chair all of his life. John is 31 years old but ever since childhood, he has always been extremely kind and caring to everyone he knows, not to mention, he’s pretty funny too. John has such a positive attitude for having such a challenging disability. He makes the most of his situation by involving himself with part time work as a greeter and is very talented in performing magic tricks.
Two years ago we lost our dad from pancreatic cancer. It was unexpected and devastating. It was within a month from finding out our dad had terminal cancer until two days before Christmas when he passed away. This completely shook our family. John not only took it hard emotionally but also he had to face the challenges of not having our dad there as his caregiver and to help him get around.
My mom doesn’t have a handicap equipped van or the strength to lift John so my big brother literally either gets down by falling forward out of his chair and crawls up into the vehicle or sometimes he attempts to lift himself if there’s a handle inside the vehicle and then someone pushes his legs in so he can let himself go to sit down. He doesn’t have the ability to move his legs that well and his right hand is weaker than his left because of his disability. John has fallen one too many times and gets hurt. The weather also makes it extremely hard for my brother to get out, (we all know what Michigan weather is like). He is able to call city transportation to come pick him up for rides to work and other places but the bus fees have been adding up and there are times that he struggles to meet the bus on time and misses his ride.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my big brother’s story. It is just a glimpse into how challenging his life is on a daily basis. Winning a new handicap equipped van would be a world of difference and it would open many more opportunities for him. It’s nice to know that this program will give him a shot!
You can vote for John here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/john-wirth-hazel-park-mi/
Cynthia DeJesus, Ms. Wheelchair California 2013 and advocate for the disabled community, is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #12
It is difficult to find the words to speak of one’s self when I live my life for others. I was a familiar face at the local schools as a volunteer. I was told the amount of work I volunteered equaled to the hiring of two employees. I have been a foster parent and adopted my second daughter, a special needs child. I do not believe in going overseas to adopt. There are plenty in need right here at home. When my father became ill with Alzheimer’s I moved to be closer and of assistance. I have run the gamut of volunteerism from family, school, government, and my church.
The most wonderful thing I have done is live my past year (2013), for the education, empowerment and the advancement of people with disabilities. As Ms. Wheelchair California 2013, I traveled from San Diego to Sacramento, all in pursuit of advocating for the disabilities community. My most recent accomplishment was traveling to Sacramento to thwart the 10 mayor initiative to take away disability parking privileges. Our bill AB2714 required finding a senator to understand the impact the 10 Mayor initiative would have on the disabilities community. After visiting with many of the Senators and their aids, we left Sacramento with Senator Hernandez as our author and many co-author senators onboard to defend what our community has worked so hard to accomplish. This being the disability community’s 25th year of disability rights, we do not want to go backwards.
As I handed over my title of Ms. Wheelchair California, I accepted the nomination of President of the Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant, Inc. While most people believe it to be a beauty pageant, it is an advocacy. The California Association of Persons with Handicaps (CAPH) was founded by an activist in Long Beach California 1974. The need for an organization to be the voice and action on behalf of the disabled was carried by a small but courageous group of people who were tired of the disabled being marginalized. I am part the voice of the disabilities community.
Over the decades, The Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant became a powerful voice for women with disability and carried the issues of the constituency (all disabled) using “the Power of the Tiara”. For the past 38 years, I being Ms. 38, have been continuously presenting the best and brightest for the benefit of the disability community.
You can vote for Cynthia here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/cynthia-dejesus-oxnard-ca/
Scott Chesney, professional Life Coach, has been in a wheelchair since he was 15. He is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #11
Andrea Jordan has nominated Scott as her hero:
I am writing to introduce you to one of the most motivational and inspirational men I know, Scott Chesney.
At age 15, Scott was struck by a tragic event in his life that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was on the court during a varsity basketball game when he fell and began losing the feeling in his legs. Little did he know this was the beginning of an extremely physical, emotional, and mental journey he would have to endure. I’m sure Scott was not ready to travel down this path but for some reason I feel this path needed him and since then he has done amazing things and changed lives from his wheelchair. You see, Scott has a gift. He is able to see the good in everyone and helps those who are looking to find their way. I have seen him in action many times speaking to many different types of people (students and teachers) and in both cases has brought a tear to my eye and given me a new hope moving forward.
I recall this summer hearing that Scott was hospitalized due to some sores that kept him on his back.
A quote from Scott,
“This past summer was a major wake-up call to me to begin to make substantial changes to my life. A nasty pressure sore would not allow me to sit up at all for the entire summer and I fortunately avoided surgery. Still, a weakness in this area is a reminder to offload as much as possible. A minivan would not only give an opportunity to have the space to fully relieve pressure, but I would no longer have to collapse and assemble my wheelchair every time I go somewhere. The wear and tear on my shoulders is not getting any better either.”
To find out more about Scott please visit his website at www.scottchesney.com. There you will find some incredible stories, people that he has affected and other notables he has been affected by as well.
Thank you for any consideration you give him, he truly is a “hero” in my eyes.
You can vote for Scott here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/scott-chesney-verona-nj/
Cortney Bugala is on the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley Baseball team. She is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #10
Cortney’s Mother Rebecca nominated her daughter as her hero:
My hero is my 14 yr old daughter Cortney Bugala. She has Diplegic Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Speech Apraxia and seizure disorder. She is in a wheelchair. Her smile catches everyone’s eye that she meets. The attitude that she possesses is to make every day as special as she is.
Her day consists of school with OT, SP, PT being in a multi-handicapped classroom and mainstreamed. Her peers love her as much as she loves them. She has the love of swimming and baseball. She has swim therapy once a week through Easter Seals and is on the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley Baseball team. Her passion for the game of baseball is amazing. She bats and runs (wheels)the bases by herself with a buddy by her side. The smile on her face says it all. The girls softball team from school have been her buddies. Seeing 15 girls run the bases with her is amazing. Everyone is in tears as you watch this miraculous feat. Without this league she could not participate in the team sport.
She has out patient SP twice a month after school at a local hospital. She has been with this wonderful therapist since 1 year of age and has made so much progress.
Cortney also volunteers yearly for the local Easter Seal Telethon on our local TV station. It has been said she is on TV for them more than the telethon hosts. In the past Cortney was pushed in many 5 k walks. A friend who has Lyme Disease buddied up with her to prove that it is possible for everyone to do anything that they put their minds to. They were the first team entered and to finish in the Wheeling Ogden Race when she was 6 yrs old. They finished first in her age group. In October 2005 they walked in the Columbus Ohio Marathon. They finished the race with a time of 1 hr 31 minutes, just shy of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Her picture was on the front page of Columbus Newspaper the next day.
Cortney is a very typical involved teenager that needs transported to and from many activities. Our van has 120,000 miles and has a Bruno Turny Orbit seat but this is not working as it is too hard to transfer her larger body. A modified van is needed desperately for Cortney to continue her loves.
You can vote for Cortney here: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/rebecca-bugala-flushing-oh/
Dorothy Gromes contracted Polio at the age of 5 weeks in 1950. She is our NMEDA Mobility Awareness Month Client Profile #9
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: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/dorothy-gromes-canton-oh/