Family Seeks Wheelchair Accessible Van Grant For Meningitis Disabled Child
by Kristi Daniels
(Harrison, TN, USA)
Cody and Jacob
We are a family of four, working to get by day to day. We have two sons, Jacob who is 8 and Cody who will be 14 next month.
When our oldest son Cody was 4 months old, he was diagnosed with meningitis. We were given no hope of survival and told to make funeral arrangements.
Fortunately, God and Cody had other plans and he survived. However, the disease caused extensive brain damage. He was left with hearing loss, the inability to swallow and severe physical and mental handicaps.
He attends Orange Grove Center, a wonderful facility that provides a daily "school type" environment where he receives all of his therapies. However, he is still functioning at the age of a 4 month old.
Cody has had numerous surgeries, most recently for a hip problem that resulted in the loss of part of his femur. Cody will never be able to walk, talk or communicate his needs to us.
Despite his difficulties and disabilities, he is a very happy child, smiling and bobbing his head whenever he sees a familiar face.
Due to extensive past medical bills (Cody's are now all covered thanks to Medicaid) and the need for round-the-clock care, we have had a difficult time in the past managing finances, which resulted in credit that is less than perfect.
We live in a rented 3-bedroom duplex, unable to buy a house, once again, due to past credit issues. We are good people that unfortunately had some very bad luck in the past.
My husband and I both work full time. I work during the day, while my husband works night shift so there is always someone there for Cody.
Cody also receives SSI, but due to a recent increase in wages, he will soon no longer be eligible for SSI income. We do make enough money to live on; however, it is not enough to purchase a new or used wheelchair accessible van.
We are currently driving a 1997 Dodge Caravan with over 310,000 miles on it (the odometer stopped working).
We spend nearly $400 every other month or so doing repairs and maintenance on the van to keep it running, as it is our only choice.
It does not have a wheelchair lift or ramp. When going somewhere with our son Cody, my husband has to pick him up and place him in the van. We then have to pick up the wheelchair and place it in the back of the van.
With Cody weighing about 75 pounds and the wheelchair about the same weight, this is not an easy task.
My husband and I both already have back problems and it is getting more and more difficult to go places with Cody.
We are desperately seeking any type of grants or assistance that can aid in the purchase of a van that is already wheelchair accessible.