Cherie has Gained Some Independence!
I'm happy to say that I went down to Vero Beach to visit Cherie this weekend since I have completed my triathlon and the training is giving way to a little bit more free time. It's absolutely surreal to me that I have the physical ability to accomplish athletic goals and Cherie has to struggle to move her body at all. Despite everything she's been through, you can see from this big smile that she remains in good spirits. She has more movement in her forearms and is driving her temporary electric wheelchair with head controls!
For those of you who are new to this blog, my childhood friend Cherie Stannard rolled her vehicle on the morning of September 30, 2010 and suffered a broken neck. She is now a parapalegic and being cared for by her sister and brother. She had no health insurance and the other driver did not stop. You can see my previous posts about Cherie here.
I am happy to say that when I arrived, Cherie and her sister had made me birthday champagne cupcakes! Sue did the cooking and Cherie said she directed the whole process. Cherie loves to cook, so often times she will talk Sue through some of her favorite creations. One of these awesome dishes were the mozzarella and tomato open faced sandwiches toasted in the oven that Cherie and her sister made us for lunch!
Cherie is scheduled to receive her custom fitted electric wheelchair on Monday, the 18th. She now has a shower chair thanks to her boyfriend's brother in law who donated the funds. You might be surprised to know that a shower chair for a quadriplegic person runs about $2500. Medicaid does not cover this.
Cherie's brother does stretching and range of motion physical therapy with her daily, he gets up at 5am to reposition her in bed and her brother in law gets up at 6am to administer her meds. Her sister does all of Cherie's personal care, and then her sister and brother use the manual Hoyer Lift to transfer her out of bed and into her chair. The dedication of her family to her care is incredible, and this care is a full time job. Visiting this weekend I got a chance to truly appreciate all that is required just to get Cherie up and out of bed, showered, dressed, and into her chair.
We can all learn a little something about love and dedication from this family, and we can all learn something about the power of positive thinking from Cherie. She is looking forward to mastering her voice software and beginning to work on writing a book. When we were kids, Cherie wrote amazing poetry, every single day. She is a talented writer and I can see her reaching her goal of writing a book. The book that she wants to write will help to teach people like you and me that a person with disabilities is just like anyone else you know. As a matter of fact, up until September 30, 2010, Cherie was just like you and me. She had goals and dreams and lived an independent life.
Your whole life can change in an instant, it can happen to any one of us. Cherie wants to encourage us to find it in our hearts to give a smile and an encouraging word to the next person we see in a wheelchair, rather than avert our eyes, look away or give a wide berth. She wants to remind us that that person in the wheelchair has feelings and wants to be accepted just like anyone else.
In order to achieve her goal of writing this book, Cherie needs adaptive equipment that Medicaid is not going to pay for. I have sold art and created a coffee table art book to help her family with funding such expenses. There is a benefit concert on Martha's Vineyard on July 31st in her honor.
To learn how you can donate funds to Cherie's charitable trust, visit www.CherieStannard.com
To preview and/or purchase a book of art that I designed with donated work from amazing artists all over the world, visit http://www.blurb.com/books/1854848. All funds go to Cherie's family
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