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Disability Grant To Help Accidented Cheri With Home Ownership And Nonprofit

by Cheri Farinholt
(Union Bridge, MD, USA)

I am a 42-year-old married mother of four teenagers. My daughter is 20 years old, and my three sons are 17, 16 and 14.

I have been with my husband since I was 19 years old.

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Disability Issues

On Tuesday, November 23, 2010, my daughter was a friend's house, and the boys were at wrestling practice while I ran out to the store to get a few things for the holiday.

That's when it happened. While I was at a complete stop, a drunk driver hit me from behind. The drunk driver fled from the scene, while I was thrown into oncoming traffic and hit again.

I was then thrown back into my original lane, hit again and thrown out of the car. I broke my back in three places, broke my left shoulder, broke my right leg, severely damaged my carotid artery and ended up with a traumatic brain injury.

I coded twice in the helicopter on the way to shock trauma, was in a coma for a month and was in three different hospitals for a total of four months.

Because of the brain injury I had to relearn everything. When I finally awoke from a coma I did not even now my kids' names.

I had to learn how to walk, talk, write, go to the bathroom, not the kinds of things you think about learning how to do when you have four children at home that need you, and a household that needs you.

I will never forget being told by the doctors that because of my extensive life-threatening injuries, especially the brain injury, I would never be able to work again, that I am permanently disabled.

I have battled a lot of mental challenges throughout my life. I was diagnosed at an early age with dyslexia, ADD, PTSD, OCD and Anxiety.

I was willing and able to work with all these disabilities, with some help, but the doctors said the accident caused physical disabilities would ground me.

Those same doctors had also told my husband to start planning my funeral because I would most likely not survive this.

Financial Hardship

The financial hardship has been huge. We instantly went from a two-income family to a family being supported solely on SSD.

My husband cannot even work because he has to provide much of the support for the kids, and for me.

I cannot drive and around where we live that is major. We do not measure the distance of our neighbors in driveways, but in acres.

It took two years for my DDS to finally come through. I was denied the first time. They said I was not disabled even though I had letters from doctors from Johns Hopkins explaining my brain injury, and saying I was permanently disabled.

By the time the DDS came through, all the money that had been donated by the community was gone, and all the money I had received from the accident was gone.

So money that I had planned on investing had to be drawn on for money to live on. Now we struggle to pay our monthly bills, pay rent, and go places we have to go.

Income Efforts

Because of my SSD and Medicare I am unclear as to how much money I could make without affecting that income.

Specific Needs

I seek benefits and grants for homeownership in the area that we already live in. My kids have been through so much. I am not willing to ask them to change school districts.

I also have dreamed of a nonprofit organization all of my adult life. The accident has really helped me narrow the idea and the homeownership is definitely part of it.

Business Idea

My nonprofit organization already has a name, SunshinesGift, and a mission, to provide canine therapy and guidance.

It has been shown through much research, that canine championship can help with everything from helping the young to learn to read, to helping handicapped with both physical and mental challenges, to helping the elderly to just simply live out happy days.

I already have people that are interested in volunteering for my organization. I just need a lot of financing. I also need help with all the administrative work that needs to be done, starting with founding SunshinesGift first!

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