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Disability Grants For Blind Single Mom Penny To Maintain Healthy Active Life

by Penny Fleckenstein
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

With guide dog Bryanna and son Zachary

With guide dog Bryanna and son Zachary

I'm Penny Fleckenstein, 50-year-old single mom of six. I live in Pittsburgh, PA with my four youngest:

- 21-year-old lady, a senior in college
- 18-year-old man, a senior in high school
- 16-year-old young man
- 6-year-old boy.

I participate in many organizations and activities:

- Pittsburgh Friendship Group
- Various Meet Up groups
- 2nd VP of BOLD (Blind Outdoor Leisure Development)
- Toastmasters (former member)
- Contributor to Consumer Vision Magazine (former, planning to resume)
- Behind Our Eyes (a writers group for people with disabilities)
- Health and wellness blog (http://www.notyouraveragesinglemom.com/)
- Motivational speaker
- Knitter
- Bike club called Mile Posters

In the past, I operated an in-home daycare and co-founded an organization in Ithaca, NY called Shot In The Dark.

I'm passionate about helping people and animals, cooking, reading and writing.

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Disability Issues

I was born totally blind with microphthalmia, which means small eyes.

My other challenges include: fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, plantar fasciitis in my feet, psoriasis and migraine associated vertigo.

I'm in chronic pain and feel nauseous a lot. I'm incredibly health-conscious doing my best to eat well and stay active.

Financial Hardship

We have more month than money. We have a tight budget but with desires to increase the education and athletic activities of all of those who live here.

I require adaptive technology, sighted assistance and Access Transportation.

I need more hours in home health aid. I'm responsible for my various medical co-pays, which I'm behind on.

I'm in need of dental care beyond what Medicaid and Medicare will pay for.

I must pay for Brianna's food and vet bills to keep her in good health.

Income Efforts

I receive:

- $1073 in Adult Disabled Child Social Security each month
- Assistance from family and friends
- Six hours a week of Home Health aid
- Medicaid and Medicare

Specific Needs

- Adaptive equipment and software Window-Eyes 9.2
- Kurzweil scanner for print documents
- Duxbury to translate text into Braille for the Braille embosser
- Braille embosser
- Braille display
- Financial assistance with my guide dog's vet bills and medications
- Financial assistance with my Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. tandem bike trip, which I'm planning with Mile Posters summer, 2016
- Financial assistance for my 18-year-old son to accomplish his dream of going to a Christian college and being in Youth Ministry
- Financial assistance for my 16-year-old son to attend college or trade school after he graduates from high school in 2017
- Financial assistance for my 6-year-old to advance educationally and athletically
- Financial assistance to purchase a home.

Business Idea

I'm a voice actor desiring to grow my business. (http://pennyfleckenstein.icanvoice.com/) I would love to read audio books, read training material, participate in training videos, and do voiceovers for phone systems and for commercials. It's something I really love to do.

I also want to eventually travel on motivational speaking engagements to help inspire others. I write poetry and short stories and would love to publish some books, which I'm in the process of writing.

Comments for Disability Grants For Blind Single Mom Penny To Maintain Healthy Active Life

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Oct 02, 2015
by: Jenn Shull

Hi Penny,

Thanks so much for sharing your story. You are a courageous woman.

I worked for a non-profit agency in NC for 8 years as a CVRT/CLVT, and we helped many person with blindness. I'm assuming you are already hooked up with your local agency, but if you're not, here is their website:

Here is a 2nd local resource you may or may not already be connected with:

Window Eyes used to have grants available and we had copies to give away as long as the person was willing to be trained to use it. This could be a possibility for you.

We had a ton of resources for our clients in regards to grants for technology since it's so expensive, so your local centers may, too.

Also, I'd suggest having someone help you start a gofundme.com page. I know a lot of people who've raised a great deal of money that way.

If I think of more ideas, I'll post additional info.

Much Love,

Sep 08, 2015
Sheila has promoted your cause
by: Don from Ability Mission

Hi Penny,

Sheila has been promoting your cause in social media and sent these links for you to review and comment on.






Let us know what you think, okay?

Don Coggan

Sep 05, 2015
by: SheilaKay

Hi Penny,

I am just amazed at your fortitude considering the obstacles you face. I was wondering if you had a chance to get into Don's Workbook yet? There is another resource he recommends that is also free:


Having 6 children is a major challenge in itself, so kudos to you for being such a good mother to them.

I wish you may blessings and I hope you'll come back to let us know your progress, what benefits you've been able to obtain, and just let us know how you're doing.

Best regards!

Disability Possibilities Unlimited

Aug 25, 2015
by: Eugene Brown

You are a real trooper and you make my heart hurt. I can only pray that you can get the help you need. I have my own disabilities but it's you I would hope that inspires others. Keep in there and don't give up.

Aug 25, 2015
Truly Inspiring
by: Don from Ability Mission


Most of the population gets discouraged with only a fraction of the challenges you face.

Kudos to you!

Now you can move on to the Workbook, which shows you how to use your story to get the help you need.

Don Coggan

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