Disability Grants For SMA Disabled Peggy To Acquire JACO Robotic Arm And QRTS Exerciser
by Peggy Overbey
(Ocala, Florida, USA)
My name is Peggy Overbey, and I am 51 years old. I was born into a military family and have two brothers. In 1972, I was the Muscular Dystrophy Association National Poster Child.
I graduated high school with honors in 1983 and went on to work for various agencies of the federal government for 23 years before taking Disability retirement in 2007.
I married my husband, Eric, in 1992. We have two dogs named Judy and Artie and live near my mother in Florida.Disability Issues
I was diagnosed at the age of two with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is a progressive degenerative muscle disease and one of the over 40 diseases listed under the overall name of Muscular Dystrophy.
The rate at which you lose the ability to do things like walk, stand, lift your arms, etc. depends on the severity of the disease.
I went through several stages in life from being able to walk with braces, being able to only stand with braces, to being in an electric wheelchair all the time.
The changes from that point were slow and subtle until one day after working for 23 years, I realized that I just didn't have the strength to continue doing so.
I have now lost all abilities to physically take care of myself in any way. My husband or caregiver must do everything for me like dressing, bathing, toileting, feeding, etc.Financial Hardship
Deciding to take Disability retirement was one of the hardest decisions I have made. I would no longer be able to support my husband and myself. He was already on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) due to his diabetes and now I am too.
Between the two of us, we have enough to pay the mortgage and bills, but have no savings.Income Efforts
I started to receive SSDI in 2007 after taking Disability retirement from the federal government along with the long-term Disability insurance I had opted for while working.
This basically reduced my income from when I worked in half. I went from having savings and disposable income to living paycheck to paycheck with little room for savings or luxuries.
In 2014, I started a GoFundMe campaign, which raised $1,410 towards getting a JACO Robotic Arm (more details below).
I also started selling handmade loom knit items on my own website, One Peg at a Time
, to raise funds for the JACO.
To date, I have a total of $2,000 in a separate account for this purpose raised from these two endeavors.Specific Needs
There is technology and equipment available that would make my life and the life of those who care for me easier. My Medicare or secondary insurance does not cover these types of things because they are considered conveniences and not necessities. There are two items I am currently seeking funding for.
The first is the JACO Robotic Arm (JACO² 7 DOF-S). This would allow me to regain some of the abilities and independence I have lost because of my disease.
I had the opportunity to demo this robotic arm in my home in March 2015. It was amazing! I fed myself for the first time in seven years. Here is a list of the things I could do in just one day.
• Feed myself a fish sandwich, French fries, ad some M&Ms.
• Lift and pour water from a pitcher into a glass, set the pitcher down, and pick up the glass to take a drink.
• Set the timer and run the microwave.
• Turn the water faucet on and off.
• Hold the telephone to talk without being on speakerphone.
• Open and close the front door.
• Pick something up off the floor.
• Get in and out of the van with JACO attached to my wheelchair.
• Go to the grocery store and pick up a can.
Here is a picture of me picking up a fish sandwich and a French fry to feed myself when I got to try a demo of the JACO back in 2015.
Peggy Picking Up A Fish Sandwich And A French Fry To Feed Herself
The second thing I'm seeking funding for is the Quadriciser Robotic Therapy System (QRTS Wheelchair). The QRTS is a therapy device that gently moves all four limbs to provide a variety of targeted therapies using continuous passive motion.
The QRTS is designed to move the arms and legs in patterns that closely simulate walking and crawling. I am hoping that the QRTS will help me on my weight loss journey and overall healthier lifestyle change by exercising my body/limbs for me since I cannot do it myself.
Some proven benefits it can help to provide for me are:
• Reduced swelling
• Increased circulation
• Increased pulmonary function
• Reduced contractures and improved flexion movements
Here is a diagram of the QRTS. The version I want would not include a chair since I would use it while sitting in my wheelchair.