Grants For Paraplegic Single Mom To Get Transportation And Education
by Lori Cassidy
(Cedar Lake, Indiana, USA)
I'm a 41-year-old single mother. I live in Indiana with my retired parents.
I worked for the County as a Sheriff's Deputy up until my accident. I was also a nursing assistant and worked as a waitress/bartender.
Twelve years ago, I was in a disabling car accident. I broke my neck and severed my spinal cord, leaving me paralyzed from the sternum down. My diagnosis is a T6 paraplegic.
It took me a few years to re-learn how to do things from a wheelchair perspective. I have upper body strength but my balance is hard to regain because of the lack of control below my sternum.
I've already had two surgeries because of pressure ulcers. My doctor predicts more surgeries in the future.
During the first two years after my accident, I was able to collect Disability income from my employer. Then I had to use my savings.
I was able to start collecting SSI to pay rent, food and some old bills. I was unable to get Medicaid until my savings were completely depleted.
After I pay my living expenses, I have nothing left. I want to work but I don't have a car and where I live, it's impossible to catch a bus or any other kind of transportation.
My mother was never able to help me with transportation and my father is getting less able everyday. It's just too difficult for them to deal with my wheelchair.
In an emergency, I call one of my friends from work. Otherwise, I basically stay at home all day.
Neither Medicare nor Medicaid cover dental expenses, so if I want my teeth to stop hurting, I take aspirin.
I have a wheelchair that needs to be replaced. Much of my bathroom assists, including my shower chair, are in serious disrepair.
I started taking classes to get my Master's degree in nutrition, but the financial aid department notified me that I had reached my loan limit.
So now I have no money, no car, no job and have to start repaying my school loan. I really feel like I've been painted into a corner.
For the first two to three years I was adjusting and spent most of my time in rehab and surgery. Once I became able to commit several hours a week to work, I started searching the Internet for work-at-home opportunities.
After many trials and error, I found out that most opportunities are either scams, pyramid schemes and/or sales jobs. None of them would allow me to make any money. I learned the hard way that their main objective is to get our money.
Once my son was a junior in high school, I began looking for financial aid for him to go to college. That's when I decided that the best route for me was also continuing my education.
I receive SSI but it just pays the bills. I live with my parents and contribute to rent, food, utilities and of course my medical supplies.
Specifically, I just really want a legitimate income through real employment. I want to be off SSI and making my own money. In order to do that, I need at the very least, transportation.
Since no public transportation comes anywhere near my house, I require a car or van. And not just for work. I skip many doctors' appointments because I don't have transportation. I have to make careful choices about which appointment is the most important and go to that one.
I would also be very appreciative if someone could help me find grants so I can finish my degree.
I really need to be living independently. Living with my parents was okay when my son was in school. But now, it's time for me to fly. I just need a little nudge.