Header for Ability Mission

Grant For MS Disabled Single Mom To Acquire Vehicle For Appointments

by Lynette Dunmyer
(Johnstown, PA, USA)

I am a 47-year-old single mother of four girls. Three of my daughters live at home.

I have a daughter who is 14 and one who is 11. My 26-year-old daughter has lived at home since the birth of my 5-year-old granddaughter.

I was a respiratory therapist and put myself through college not once, but twice. I also obtained my license in phlebotomy while working a full-time job and raising a family.

I left home when I was just 17 and had my first daughter at age 18. Although she was not in my plans, I decided to raise her even in the face of the circumstances around her conception. (I was raped by a neighbor who was a good deal older than me.)

Life has always been a struggle but my faith in God has brought me through it and continues to be my strength.

They say God never gives you more than you can handle. Sometimes I wish he did not trust me so much.

Disability Issues

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis seven years ago, but I suspect I have had it for almost 20 years. I also suffer from emotional and thymic depression and bipolar disorder.

The depression envelops me and isolates me. I have always said I would rather have cancer than suffer the ills of mental illness.

The MS has debilitated me to the point that I can no longer tell the difference between hot and cold when using my hands.

When I have an infection that brings on a fever, the MS is exacerbated to the point that I cannot walk.

This impairment is the equivalent of a spinal cord fracture from T12. I cannot feel anything from the bellybutton down.

It is at this point that I require intravenous Solu-Medrol, which is a steroid. With physical therapy and time I regain my mobility.

With each exacerbation, however, it takes longer and more intervention (leg braces and a walker) to get me back to normal.

My memory is greatly affected. Coming from a former restaurant server who could take an order for 20+ people and never write one thing down, this is quite distressing.

I can see an object in my mind but cannot get the word to come to my mouth. I have accepted that my life has changed but I do not accept that I am a victim and that life is over.

I must say it is difficult at times to accept what life has put in front of me since my diagnosis.

My husband could not deal with the inconvenience. I have always taken care of others and now that I must rely on others I find myself struggling.

What I worry most about is who will care for my two youngest children should something happen to me.

Maddy, my 11-year-old, has several disabilities of her own. She is of below average intelligence, has focal seizures, and is prone to panic and anxiety attacks.

I know my body is failing me but I want to remain independent for as long as possible.

Financial Hardship

I am caring for five of us. I receive $1100 monthly in SSI and anywhere from $525 to $725 in child support.

My monthly expenses include $525 in rent, $700 in utilities, $210 in auto insurance, $200-300 in staples (shampoo, toilet paper, laundry detergent, cleaning products, and other items) and $250 in food not purchased by my oldest daughter’s food stamps.

I do not owe anything on the vehicle I own right now. I bought it with the money that was owed to me when I was found to be disabled.

My vehicle has had many problems and has cost me more than the $6000 I paid for it and it is no longer reliable. It is rusting around me and requires much work.

I cannot trade the vehicle in since I allowed it to be used as collateral for a loan my husband needed to make a better life for our family. Well, he is making a better life for a family, just not ours. As usual we are paying the price.

We sometimes travel 90 miles or more for Maddy's doctor visits. My percentage of Medicare is 20%, which can be costly should I require an increased amount of medical intervention.

It seems that at times I can barely afford to keep food on the table, let alone pay for additional assistive devices.

I had the potential to make $50,000-60,000 per year doing respiratory therapy and phlebotomy, but who would let a person whose hands shake uncontrollably come near them with a needle?

My financial life is lacking to say the least.

Income Efforts

Clearly I cannot work. Working from home is not an option, as manipulating the keyboard even to write this story has been painful and the most arduous of tasks.

Yes, I do receive SSI, but I can barely keep afloat with the bills and obligations I have. I am not even able to try to buy a vehicle.

I do not have wealthy family members and my sister is no better off than myself and she may be even worse.

I worked hard my whole life until I was no longer able to work and now I need the help I would gladly give to others if I were in a position to do so.

Specific Needs

I am hoping to secure a free grant to purchase a $10,000 vehicle that will get my family and me to doctor appointments. This would allow me to remain independent for as long as possible.

I need help finding the right program that will meet my needs.

Click here to post comments

Return to US Pennsylvania.