Grant Money For Migraine Disabled Dawn To Build Event Venue Business
by Dawn Worrelol
(Hillsville, Virginia, USA)
Now a migraine-disabled female math and science teacher, I taught for 24 years in a rural town in southwest Virginia.
My supportive family is a wonderful attribute to my life. My husband, Craig, is a sports editor for a local paper.
Together we have five children, ranging in age from 18 to 28 years old, along with two grandchildren, ages seven years and six weeks.
Three of our children have chosen careers in security, as a police officer, a security guard, and in the security forces of the Air Force. One daughter is beginning college in the fall.
Our grandson is like our own child, since we have raised him since he was two years old, due to poor decisions our eldest daughter made. We felt that it was in his best interest, physically and emotionally, for us to seek custody. He is the light of our lives!
The clinical name of my diagnosis is complex/complicated migraines.
My disability began two years ago while I was still teaching. I would have headaches so excruciating that I felt like a metal pipe was going through my head behind my eyes.
I had trouble seeing since my right eye would dilate completely, which would throw my balance off. I am blind in my left eye, which caused even more difficulty.
I would need to walk around my classroom clutching desks for balance and stability to help students with their assignments.
My speech would become slurred and I would have numbness on the right side of my face. My cognitive functioning would decrease and I would become easily confused.
I sought medical advice immediately and was referred to a neurologist, who conducted extensive blood work, MRIs, CT scans and a spinal tap to rule out as many diseases as possible.
My symptoms resemble those of a stroke, which was ruled out from prior testing.
I also began medicinal therapy, beginning with seizure medication. That worked to alleviate some symptoms for a short time, but then began a series of inpatient overnight hospital stays and many outpatient steroid and magnesium sulfate IV treatments.
This helped tremendously for a while, but again, the treatments stopped working.
I have been on various medications, even Botox injections that would help for a few months. The myriad of medications would simply stop working in a relatively short period of time.
I am now on a regimen of medications that control the pain to a point, but I am unable to work inside a classroom with the fluorescent lighting and stressful demands of meeting 80 children's needs throughout the day.
As hard as I tried, I was not an asset to their learning experience.Financial Hardship
When my doctor declared me unable to work, maintaining our monthly house payment, medical payments and regular household bills became impossible, even with my husband's income.
Thanks to a wonderful and gracious mother-in-law, we were blessed to borrow money to get us through, until we received an answer from the Social Security Disability Administration. Of course, we will need to pay her back.
Our savings had been long since used because of a combination of medical bills and lawyer fees. The monthly visits to the neurologist, spinal tap, MRIs, CT scan, Botox treatment along with other medications, and hospital visits drained us financially.
We also were in a legal battle, before I became unable to work, over our grandson due to my daughter taking us to court over custody.
We could not afford to lose custody of our grandson. He had come so far emotionally and was just beginning to feel secure, but we needed to continue to prove over and over again that he was where he needed to be.
My daughter's lack of judgment due to drug use had caused him physical and emotional damage. Lawyer bills through the ordeal totaled $18,000.
Although my credit is very good, there is no way, based on the debit to income ratio, that I could secure a bank or small business loan that would cover my business proposition.
After my business got off the ground, the situation would be different, due to an increase in income.Income Efforts
Within two weeks of my doctor's letter declaring me unable to work, I filed for Disability Social Security Benefits. I also applied for Disability through the Virginia Retirement System.
I was granted Social Security Disability Benefits, but was denied benefits through the Virginia Retirement System.
I appealed their decision, sending additional documentation, including the letter from Social Security, a letter from by doctor written especially for them, a letter from my immediate supervisor (principal) and an objective letter from a colleague.
I also sent untouched photos of my eyes, when my right eye was dilated, and when it was not. I was again rejected from the Virginia Retirement System.
Recently, my husband and I refinanced our home, adding another 10 years to the mortgage, to enable us to make our house payment with our reduced income through Social Security Disability income, as compared to when I was teaching.Specific Needs
I want to be a productive part of our community, supplement my family's income and improve my self-worth. In order to do this, I need a grant for my business endeavor.
Although my medical situation has taken a harsh toll on me emotionally and physically, I am driven to accomplish goals within my ability.
Being born without sight in my left eye has actually been a blessing. I had to work hard to accomplish and compensate for difficult tasks, such as driving with lack of 3-dimensional sight.
I was raised in a home that did not value education. Due to my tenacity, I graduated with honors from both high school and Virginia Tech, and obtained a master's degree within four years while teaching.
I'm aware I cannot teach again, but I renewed my license for the next five years, knowing it is just a paper that proves to me self-value.Business Idea
I would like to build a wedding/special occasion barn venue. I've done a lot of research and wedding barns are extremely popular.
I understand from a business point of view that to make a business successful, you need an ideal location, a quality product that is reasonably priced, and advertising.
We live five miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, five miles from Interstate 77, reaching from Ohio to Georgia, and 18 miles from Interstate 81, stretching from middle Tennessee to Lake Ontario in New York.
There are many pieces of property for sale with beautiful mountain views that would easily attract individuals to this area.
The inside barn area would have a loft with tables for catering a reception dinner. The base level would be complete with antiques, quilts and chairs for an inside wedding, men's and women's handicap accessible restrooms/dressing areas, and a kitchen area for the caterers or the 'do it yourselfers' for the main meal.
The chairs on the base level could be removed for an evening of celebration. Outside, I would have a patio with rocking chairs and gliders for people to relax and enjoy the scenery, as well as one another's company.
There would be an outside wedding area with benches for everyone to view the ceremony with mountains as the backdrop.
My business idea would create jobs for my rural community, beginning with the first initial stages of construction. We do have hotels, florists and catering services that would welcome the new business, as well as convenience stores and restaurants.
I can work behind the scenes, booking reservations and managing the business, given my mathematical background and organizational skills.
I want to feel useful again by making a difference with my own home finances and in our rural community as well.