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Meredith's Independence

Organized by: Keegan Amrose

Keegan's Photo

THE STORY:

Imagine being diagnosed with a disease at eighteen months old. Imagine growing up knowing that you will never be like the other kids. Imagine knowing that you could never do the things that other people were able to do. Meredith Edman doesn't have to imagine because this is reality to her. Being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at such a young age must have been devastating but what did she do? She didn’t give up.

At the age of sixteen she had her first surgery. Teenage years are already difficult enough without having to deal with a surgery and the scars it causes. Nowadays, scars are no worry to Meredith. Fifty seven surgeries have seen to it that physical scars are the least of her worries. One of her biggest scars is not a scar at all. It is the absence of one. In 2010 she had to have a surgery to amputate her right leg. This was a heavy blow especially since one of her other limbs was already pretty useless. Her dominant arm (left) had to have its elbow removed. Now she can’t move it very well. Coupled with the lack of a leg, life can be pretty difficult. As if that weren’t enough, there are other issues such as a disintegrating ankle (left) and permanently dislocated shoulder (right). It is difficult to walk but she manages very well. It is also very difficult to bend down and raising her arms past a certain level is impossible.

She has persevered even with these major hindrances. In 1996 she adopted a young child who had attachment disorder. She raised her all by herself until she starting dating EJ in 1998. After eight years she married the man of her dreams and things were going well. Even when she lost her leg and became more dependent, EJ stayed by her side. He was everything to her; loving husband, father to her daughter, caregiver… The list goes on and on. But all great things seem to come to an end. In 2013, EJ died from a brain aneurysm. With her daughter grown and a mountain of grief eating away at her health Meredith had nobody she could turn to for help with her physical needs. She had to hire a caregiver in order to help her.

As her body continued to get worse her dependency grew. She couldn’t even safely operate a car thus losing her ability to drive herself anywhere. Now she must rely on her caregiver, friends, or sometimes just acquaintances for rides. She has no control and finds herself having to plan her life weeks in advance just so she can get a ride somewhere. If this weren’t bad enough, she constantly needs someone by her side in case there is an emergency. She would be unable to either call or get medical treatment if something happened. That’s why when a government funded program called and said they would help her modify her car she was ecstatic. But reality was once again harsher than expected. She would not only have to pay for some of the alterations herself, she would have to buy a whole new car (a minivan is needed for the alterations). Even if she bought a used car, it is far more then she can afford. Monthly payments aren't an option because she has to pay her caregiver. Seeing her about to give up, I offered my assistance. Please help her regain some of her independence. Please help her regain a freedom that the vast majority of us take for granted. Please just help her in any way that you can.

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Organized by

Keegan Amrose

This is a direct to organizer fundraiser.

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