Help Carole help herself!
Organized by: Keri Paciorek
Today, Carole scheduled her driving assessment appointment which is the 1st step to getting her driver’s license back!!! HURRAY CAROLE!! THANKS AGAIN FRIENDS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT !!!!
March 24, 2016
I am starting this fundraiser to help my childhood friend, Carole Johnson McCrickard, gain some of her independence back. As many of her friends know she has always been a fun, positive, spirited and independent person who is always there to help when you need it. Even while suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and Stomach Cancer.
Due to her illness causing problems with feeling in her legs, she has lost her driver’s license and has not been able to drive for the past year! Now with the progression of the disease she needs a wheelchair van with hand controls. My goal is to raise money to help her with this purchase, along with the training needed, so she can drive again.
Not being able to drive would be devastating for anyone; it is a huge loss of independence, but especially for someone who has moved to a new state, has school age kids to look after, as well as, get back and forth to doctor’s appointments, not to mention the helplessness and desperation of being trapped at home without the freedom to go and do the things that life requires. Carole's husband has been out of work and has been taking care of the necessary driving duties this past year, but medical bills and bills are piling up and he needs to get back to work, which means he can no longer be there to drive her and the kids around. Fortunately a handicap accessible vehicle is a solution to her being able to drive again, get her independence back, help herself and be there for her family.
They cannot afford to make this happen...but WE can!!!
That is why I am asking for your help!
I had no idea what she has been going though since she moved from California to Virginia and I bet not many of her other friends did either. Because of the type of person she is, she doesn’t complain and wouldn’t ask for help. After a long conversation and learning of her situation, hearing how down and desperate she has become, I wanted to help her.
Please help with ANY amount of a donation to help Carole. She has always been there for others in need, let's do our best to help a wonderful person get a piece of her life back.
For those that don’t know Carole, I have asked her to write a little bit of her story, as she can tell it better than I.
"When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis back in 2003, I was a confident 30 year old woman, ready to face this horrible debilitating disease head on! I remember my neurologist telling me that I would most likely be in a wheelchair within 10 years. At that time I was thinking, '10 years from now is awhile away. I'm a very positive person, and I can handle being in a wheelchair when that time comes. I would be the same "Carole", making the most out of my life under any circumstances....with a smile on my face.'
Over the next 5-10 years, I’ve experienced many different symptoms that have affected the way I live day to day. Fatigue being the worst! I would fall asleep in the evenings before my kids would and they were only 4 and 6 back then!
And have you ever tried to dance with legs that are weak and numb with muscle spasms? You definitely create your own dance moves....and they aren't very crowd-pleasing! Haha! Even though I lost my steadiness and ability to balance, I still needed to dance!
I've battled with pain on a daily basis, pain from the stiffness and swelling in my legs, the horrible discomfort of diminished circulation, causing them to constantly "fall asleep". But the worse pain, is all over nerve pain. All of my nerves are so hypersensitive, causing intense burning and shocking sensations all the time. It's a horrible pain that unfortunately cannot be escaped, but I’ve learned to live with it. This disease basically tortures you as it slowly attacks your central nervous system. Being completely self-sufficient and independent is all in the past. Relying on others to help you is the only way you will be able to survive. You slowly become more and more depressed because you no longer feel like you are contributing to your family and friends, but are more of an inconvenience or "job" to everyone around that is taking care of you. These past couple of years especially have been the most difficult and depressing for me. When I moved from California to Virginia in June 2014, I was so excited to begin my new married life with my husband Todd, his 2 boys and my children Cayla and Cameron. We moved into a new home, the kids were happy at their school, and our dogs Harley and Charlie were adapting great! I was still undergoing chemo therapy for my stomach cancer, but I was in a positive state of mind....I was in control. Then at the end of 2014, my legs were starting to shake a lot, making it difficult for me to drive. I told my neurologist I wanted to look into hand controls for my car, because I wasn't feeling very comfortable driving with the condition of my legs. My doctor was familiar with this process and completed all of the necessary paperwork and sent it off to the DMV for a special license.
What happened after that would literally change my life and the condition of my health forever. Within 5 days I received a letter from the DMV telling me my drivers license was immediately suspended. The letter then began explaining all the necessary steps I needed to follow in order to get my license back. Well let me tell you, its been a little over a year since this happened, and I am still not driving. In order for me to obtain a drivers license I have to go to a special school and receive an assessment on my condition. Then, based on that information, I have to complete 5-7 training sessions behind the wheel with hand controls. After all of this is completed, I will then be able retake my drivers license test and behind the wheel test.
Todd has had to leave his job of 11 years so we had someone to take/pick up kids from school, plus take me to all of my doctor and chemo appointments. Financially, this past year has been exceptionally hard on us, our home is not the most handicap friendly home, and we had many plans to add all the necessary features to accommodate a wheelchair when that time came. But unfortunately, everything changed when I lost my privilege to drive and Todd was out of work. Being assessed and evaluated to drive a vehicle with handicap modifications and be able to receive a special license is close to $3,000 ! But sadly the disease has advanced so rapidly this past year, I am now needing to purchase a wheelchair conversion van because I no longer have the use of my legs. A vehicle like this is anywhere from $15,000 used, to $50,000 brand new. Who has that kind of money?! Having vehicles equipped for handicap people gives us the ability to maintain our independence, which will obviously add more happiness, better quality and a more positive way of life. Sadly, when I lost my driver’s license over a year ago, I lost my will to keep fighting.
I need to get back to something of my old self for the sake of myself and the sanity of my family. I feel if I am able to gain back some independence through the ability to drive again, my outlook on life will be much brighter, I won’t be stuck indoors and be such a burden on my family. I will be able to contribute. I've always been a fighter with all of my health challenges. I've accepted the changes I've had to make throughout the progression of this, as well as, having stomach cancer....losing my ability to run, walk, dance,skate or even just stand, but the worst thing I deal with day to day is not being able to spend quality time with Cayla and Cameron, like I used to. I've taken the kids to school and picked them up everyday since kindergarten. That time with them, hearing about their day, was priceless! (I wont be able to trap them in the car for very much longer, haha) The last day I took them to school was over a year ago. With Todd being out of work for so long, having to literally drive 4 kids to and from different schools everyday, after school activities and my appointments, he has not been able to find a job to allow us to save up enough money for the training and equipment I am needing to drive. I've been applying for handicap assistance through government programs, state programs, community assistance and grants for a year now, and keep getting denied. Each day that passes I
become more and more depressed.....some days not even leaving my bedroom. I'm so ashamed that I've allowed that once "confident girl" to sink miserably to the bottom."