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Grant Funding To Help MS Disabled Mom And Grandma Restore Normal Life

by Rita Therese Downey
(Worcester, MA, USA)

I live in Worcester, Mass. I'm a 61-year-old grandmother to a seven-year-old grandson. We live with my son, his dad and my husband and kitten.

My son was in the Army for nine years and is aiming to go back in. He gained full custody of my grandson while he was in and called to see if we would help him raise him and of course my answer was yes.

The judge told his ex she had to pay half of the insurance and left it up to my son that if she didn't she had no visitation. She has not seen him in six and a half years. It's sad but I've been Nonnie and Mom to him!

Disability Issues

I was in college when the first thing happened, but back in a day they had no way of diagnosing things like MS. The first thing that happened was I had no feeling in my legs and fell right down on the floor when I got out of bed.

The doctor said I needed vitamin B. I went to classes the next day and then bought a new pair of shoes and went to work. The feeling had come back in my legs before I went to bed.

I lost my sight in my left eye and couldn't drive. I went to a specialist in Boston who was well known except I can't remember his name. He kind of figured it out and I came back home.

I had to have IVs for three days -- four hours each. They were steroids. My sight came back and my primary doctor sent me to a neurologist who had an MRI done then called to come into his office.

That was when he officially told me I had MS. That was in 2004. I talked about the treatment with him. He suggested some of the good ones then so I chose Avonex and I've been on it since.

Financial Hardship

When we came back from the South we had nothing but the clothes on our back and the few things we could fit in the trunk of the car. The cat was passed back and forth between my husband and myself.

My husband was incarcerated shortly after we returned and I was left with all the bills and no money. I did work at my girlfriend's family daycare until she couldn't pay me anymore.

Then she told me about another girl who had 10 children in her family daycare and over I went. Little did I know what kind of a "provider" she was.

On my way to her house one day (June 20) my grandson and I were in a rollover car accident. My car went up in the air and landed on its left side.

He got out some way. He kept looking for me and thought I was dead. I had to wait for the ambulance and fire department because the gentleman who got in my car somehow couldn't get me out.

The steering wheel was holding me in and the seat belt had tightened across my bosom. When they arrived the fireman broke the window and somehow released the seat belt.

They put the two of us in the same ambulance and in the emergency ward they put us in the same room. I went for x-rays and my grandson had x-rays and a CAT Scan.

My son got up to us and found someone who would get us home. We only have one car and it was totaled. We now have a new car and a payment to go with it.

We needed one or I couldn't make my appointments. I have to go to the orthopedic surgeon because the therapist in physical therapy couldn't get that left arm to loosen up.

Being left-handed this has slowed me down. I don't know what he is going to want to do -- but here we go again -- I'll bet more medicine.

My son's work shirts were lost and some groceries that we didn't take up to the apartment because they didn't need to be refrigerated.

Income Efforts

I have tried to get all kinds of jobs but as soon as anyone sees the cane they won't hire me.

I've tried different work-at-home jobs. In fact I've tried different surveys online and I have a whole bunch that I signed up for.

I do get SSDI but that goes to pay the rent. The leftover pays some bills but it's not keeping everyone happy. Some bills have gone to collections.

My sister has helped me quite a bit but she has run out of resources too. I can't pay back any money to her.

While my husband was incarcerated he had kept asking me for money so he could use the phone to call us or buy things. That always upset me.

I tried to apply for grants but I never found the right one. I'm not done with those yet.

I receive food stamps but they are gone the first day so then I heard about the food pantries and I keep the cabinets full now.

Specific Needs

What I would like out of all of this is advice on how to get help. There was a girl who answered my note to one of the places on the Internet. She is helping with some of my bills like the rent so my Disability check can get supplies like paper goods.

If I haven't found something like benefits or grants please let me know. I'm not used to living like this and it's embarrassing.

My doctor refuses to let me go back to work because my left side is so weak. Thank you one and all for taking the time to read my story and if you find it in your heart to help in any way you can.

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