Grant Funds Will Help Accident Disabled Man Get Vehicle And Normal Life
by Keith Senkowski
(Houghton Lake, MI, USA)
I am a 43-year-old male, disabled since I was 34. I moved up to Houghton Lake from the Detroit area in 2000 with my then wife after getting laid off from Chryslers World Headquarters in Auburn Hills shortly after the merger with Daimler.
Unfortunately we had to leave our family and friends behind, which was a very tough decision for the both of us.
It didn't take very long for me to find a very good job because of the hard work ethic I picked up from my father and everything seemed to be on track.
What we didn't know was how much we were going to miss our family and friends, but at the time we thought it was worth the chance to live in the Northern Michigan atmosphere we both loved.
On February 19, 2003 I was involved in a very serious work-related accident that gave me permanent back trouble, seven major surgeries to my left knee and four on my right.
Ever since, I've been forced to live with pain that is only made tolerable thanks to my doctor I see once a month.
Unfortunately ever since the accident and my dealings with the workers compensation system, it led to us losing just about everything we worked hard for to attain.
After that, there was the divorce of my wife and me and years of deep depression, which I'm currently in counseling for.
On February 1, 2006 I was finally approved for SSDI and have been on it ever since.
In the past few years I have begun to suffer from sleep apnea, kidney troubles, minor strokes and other serious medical problems that all stem from me being unable to work, missing my family and friends and deep financial hardship.
Once I was informed that I had no other option except to go through the workers compensation system, it has been downhill ever since.
After more than two years of dealing with them and also going through surgery after surgery and the rehab that follows each one, I was left pretty much destitute.
The worst came about two years ago when my Jeep was repossessed, leaving me without a vehicle. To be 100% truthful, this has been the hardest thing to overcome by far.
Pretty much everyone I know lives down in the Detroit area and I began to feel like a prisoner in my tiny one-bedroom apartment. It made it impossible to do just about anything.
On average I have between six and 10 medical appointments per month and some of them are with specialists who are between 75 and 180 miles from my home.
I live in a very rural area and not being able to walk very far made the simplest things very stressful. There is a local public transportation system, but that just adds to my anxiety and depression.
When I still had my Jeep it would take me about an hour to an hour and a half to go to my local doctor's appointment, pharmacy to pick up medication and then home.
Now it takes between five and seven hours and if it's the winter months I'll be in serious pain for up to a week or two.
My major financial hardships come from spending an extra $100-$150 on food per month on top of what I get in food stamps, prescription and doctor co-pays and simply trying to do a couple normal things a month, like go to a movie or order food just to try and keep my mind sane.
There are still some types of work I can perform, but everything I've tried or looked into have been a scam.
I am and have always been a very hard worker, but with my physical disabilities and not having a vehicle it's almost impossible.
My only income is SSDI, which I now receive at the rate of $809 per month.
I never want to make it sound like I don't appreciate the funds I receive from SSDI because I do. It just makes it very hard to have even a percentage of the life I had before the accident.
My specific need would be a grant so I could get a good running vehicle so I'd be able to do what everyone takes for granted, like see my family and friend that I haven't seen in years, or go grocery shopping and to my many doctor appointments and weekly counseling sessions.
Most importantly I'd hopefully be able to meet someone so I wouldn't have to be so alone through all of this, which has been the toughest thing by far.
My life would be so incredibly improved that I don't even have the words to explain it.
I am also the type of person who believes in paying it forward. I would be more than happy to give people rides who need them or anything to help make the world of disabled people just a little better.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I pray to God that you will be able to help.
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