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Accident Disabled Woman Seeks Grant Money For Sling Handbag Business

by Katrina Williams
(Florahome, FL, USA)

My name is Katrina Williams and I am the proud mother of two wonderful sons. My oldest son Daryl is 27, and Joshua the baby is 26.

I was married for 27 years to their father, Rodney Williams. Rodney and I married young and had a long, successful marriage but ultimately decided after 27 years of marriage to divorce.

While my children were young I returned to school to complete my degree in Biology. I worked as a research specialist for Mayo Clinic for 14 years.

As the economy began to falter, so to did funding for research. Despite my desires to remain with Mayo Clinic, the lack of funding forced major downsizing.

Unfortunately December 2010 my position at Mayo Clinic was red lined. Separated from my husband and unemployed I decided to move closer to my family.

My siblings lived in a very rural area 40 miles from where I raised my family. After many months of adjustments I was able to mimic the pace of the slower lifestyles shared by my new farming neighbors.

I purchased a 10-acre farm, which was very close to the farms of my father and oldest brother.

Despite the lack of knowledge concerning farming and the pace at which time passes I began to enjoy the small town. I became accustomed to driving 20 miles in one direction to reach the closest town.

Furthermore the lack of streetlights in the evenings wasn't as bothersome as in the beginning. I learned that driving on bumpy dirt roads is unavoidable and there are greater things to fear in the county than bears.

Driving in the country is more dangerous than the city at times and avoiding deer on dark county roads requires great attentiveness, skill and luck.

June 2011 my divorce was finalized and I settled comfortably into my new world.

One evening returning from town my luck navigating the roads ran out. I don't remember anything from the accident but from reading police reports and dictation from 911 calls made by witnesses it was severe.

My vehicle veered off the road and struck an electric pole then continued forward to strike a tree. I was ejected from the vehicle only to have my car land on top of me.

Life flight flew me to the closest trauma center where I was admitted.

I had a severe head injury, multiple breaks in my neck (c3, c5, and c6), acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation, a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm and several broken ribs.

Once I was stabilized, the surgeons mended my broken humorous with plates then sent me to the intensive care unit to recover.

My family was told that I had a Brachial Plexus injury (BPI) to my left arm resulting in paralysis from the shoulder down.

Because the more obvious injuries needed attention the BPI was unaddressed for many weeks. Broken, unemployed and uninsured I was now faced with many unknowns.

Finally after speaking to my surgeon I was informed that injuries such as mine may spontaneously repair themselves so the decision was made to not treat my dislocated shoulder or the dislocated AC joint until ample time was given to allow the nerves time to heal.

Three months after my accident I returned to the surgeon for an evaluation. I expressed my concerns about the lack of improvement in my arm and the degree of my severe pain.

Again I was assured that time may heal my condition. Six months post accident I was given the same information from my doctor. Frustrated and depressed I made an appointment with my doctor nine months post accident.

Expecting to hear the same prognosis I was not prepared for my surgeon’s advice. Due to the lack of improvement and the condition of my muscles my surgeon expressed his concerns.

He explained the procedure to repair my shoulder, which could be done, and the procedure to gain mobility of my arm, which could be done; however, because I lacked any feeling or motion in my hand he refused to have me endure the surgery.

After months of delay my surgeon recommended amputating my arm. How could this be? I believed and was encouraged to believe that my injury would or could be repaired. Once again I was forced to redefine myself.

Faced with the knowledge that I will not regain use of my hand was devastating but the need and desire to regain my independence was greater.

Learning to live with one hand has been challenging but every challenge promotes potential to me. My accident has closed many doors but has also opened many.

The accident took my arm but it did not take my mind. I have started a home-based business targeting Brachial Plexus patients, specifically female patients.

In addition I have decided to return to school for a degree in business.

Unemployed, still uninsured, and riddled with debt, I face each day with expectation. Why did I leave that ditch alive, why did I survive? Why did I lose my arm?

I don’t have the answers to these questions but I know I have what it takes to survive.

I am presently seeking funding to help me regain and redefine my life. I fear without a quick solution to my employment status I will lose my home.

I find myself in situations where I am forced to choose between paying for my household expenses, buying food or purchasing my medication.

I never thought that at my age I would have to ask these questions.

The future scares me. I am uncertain how I will afford the surgery to repair my shoulder and amputate my arm. I am uncertain how I will have the funds to carry me until I learn to operate a new one.

Having attended many college courses in my life I know without the aid I will not be able to return to school.

I have worked one-handed in a two-handed home expecting to regain use of my arm/hand. Now that I know my injury is permanent, I have equipment available to me which should be purchased.

I am focused on my business, Beautifully Broken, because I know there is a great need for my service. I cater to females who suffer arm injuries either BPI or a simple broken arm.

Having walked in these shoes I offer solutions to everyday situations. Additionally I am in the process of starting a support group in my local area which to my surprise we lacked.

I have applied for food stamps as well as SSI but was denied so I depend on the support of my ex-husband, my son's and the local church for food and living expenses.

I would love the assurance of knowing my return to school is a possibility.

Furthermore, my doctors believe the small business I have started will fill a special need in female patients. They as well as others have encouraged me to move forward with my ideas.

I believe with proper start up funds and a marketing budget, my business will grow quickly availing me the opportunity to regain my financial independence and potentially employ others who suffer BPI.

Beautifully Broken is a business that helps bring beauty back to females who suffer from BPI. Patients with BPI have many hurdles to overcome, specifically self-image.

Handling a flailing arm can be done by wearing a sling but the market offers limited variety. Beautifully Broken offers patients function as well as fashion.

Additionally we realize the challenge of being one-handed and the need to maximize the freedom of our one functioning hand.

We have combined the necessity of a sling with the function and fashion of a handbag.

Our slings are not limited to BPI patients. Females can use our line of handbags as a cast cover while recovering from a broken arm. Our handbags bring fun to fractures by replacing the need for a purse.

The beauty of our handbags in not in fashion alone. Our handbags continue to function as a purse long after recovery. We offer children and young adults slings as well.

The average cost of a Beautifully Broken Handbag is $25, which is comparable to the average cost of arm slings presently on the market.

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