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Carole With RA And Multiple Disabilities Seeks Scooter And Business Grant

by Carole Schnell
(Groves, Texas, USA)

I am 48 with three autoimmune diseases, degenerative spondylolisthesis, narcolepsy and depression.

My background is in cosmetology where I have an instructor's license and Associate of Science Degree.

Before going back to school I worked my way up to manager at a Mr. Gatti's franchise. I was there for six years; the last two years I returned to school working 60 hours and school 40 hours.

After graduating I worked as a cosmetologist while completing my teaching degree. I became Executive Director of Education at Dolphin College where I worked for more than six years. I had graduated over 3000 students during that time averaging 100% passing state board exams.

My health led me to an office job where I was responsible for 13 convenience stores and NSF checks and research. I left after five years to work for Dell supporting customers by phone.

In my eighth year it was apparent I could not continue working; however, I trudged through two more.

Disability Issues

I was born with the degenerative spinal disease, but it wasn't diagnosed until an MRI around 2008.

I have suffered from depression and asthma since I was about seven years old. Before being diagnosed on all 18 points for fibromyalgia in 2000 I had had five laparoscopies to search for endometriosis.

I was diagnosed with narcolepsy and migraines in 2006, Sjogren's syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis in 2008. The only way to explain what it is like is for you to imagine you have the flu... every minute of every day.

Lying down does not bring on sleep because both feet are in a "charlie horse" state. RLS settles into your calves at the bone. It's like your hip bones are being impaled by telephone poles, your stomach is nauseous from the pain, your arms are in between falling asleep and waking up, your neck is supported by a bowling ball, and that is a good day.

I have to use the square blue ice blocks on my hips, feet, abdomen, and lower back most days.

I set my alarm to take my medicines because they have to work before you can get out of bed and to keep it on an even keel. You do not want to take a double dose because you are in so much pain it has built up; the only thing you will get is a stomachache.

I get groceries twice a month and do laundry once a month.

I was a featured soloist in church and sang in a gospel band. I haven't been able to do that since 2008.

My mail sits in the mailbox for four or five days unless one of my neighbors gets it for me.

Financial Hardship

I lost my best friend and roommate of 12 years in October 2013.

I receive $1096 per month from SSDI and about $94 in food stamps.

My rent is $620, medical bills $69, phone and electricity $250, car insurance $125, and of course I have some credit card debt.

I need a small scooter to get around, but my car is not adaptable and I cannot afford to replace my car or purchase a scooter.

I am always searching for ways to lower my bills and so I spend a lot of time in the dark!

Income Efforts

I have searched different locations to live in, but since I would have to have movers that pack I couldn't afford to move anyway.

I have researched work-at-home programs, but they usually require an investment and an enormous amount of legwork, which I can't cope with.

I have tried to get help with day-to-day chores and organizing my home to fit my needs from churches and organizations to no avail.

My mom will sometimes help with food, but that is not often.

My best friend and I tried to get a jewelry business going. We have a website and an 800 number, but financially and physically have been unable to make it work.

I have even tried making money doing surveys.

Specific Needs

I need a grant to continue living independently. I want to be as productive as I still can. I need someone to help with chores, I need a scooter so I can go farther, and I need a vehicle that can carry a small scooter.

I need a grant for the jewelry business so that it can add to my income. Every month is so filled with anxiety and fear of drowning in debt and seeing no end in sight.

I will always have this disability and it will continue to get worse, but I am not ready to give up.

Business Idea

My jewelry business consists of one of a kind crystals, glass, wire, dream catchers, single earrings, and rings made primarily for larger clients. It exists only on the Internet, but needs to be placed in consignment shops and marketed to as many people as possible.

I can make the jewelry, but need an employee who can travel and show it. I am in the process of adjusting prices, taking photos, and getting a new tax ID. The current ID is expiring due to lack of sales. I am confident that with help I would be able to support myself again.

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