Tim and his family enjoyed a bonfire outside his home to celebrate his mom Patty’s birthday this weekend. For some this would be common. For Tim, this is something very special to celebrate.
Recently, Tim and Patty recovered from illnesses that hospitalized them both. Then they moved from St. Louis to Festus. Since then, Tim has spent more time outside than he had in the last 10 years. The day he moved in, DRA’s ADA Specialist Jimmy installed a donated metal ramp that has allowed him to easily get in and out of his new home. Tim and Patty are amazed at all the services DRA offers and the caring help they have already received.
“Jimmy has been amazing,” boasts Tim. “He’s direct, caring, respectful and always smiling. He’s been such a big help to get us settled in here, and we keep each other laughing.”
Tim’s 70-year-old mom Patty is his caregiver with DRA’s CDS in-home program. Since she is getting older, she wanted Tim to be secure in a home of his own. Tim wanted more “elbow room” and a friendlier environment than the St. Louis subdivision where neighbors frequently complained, including when he rode his motorized wheelchair through the neighborhood just to take a stroll.
Tim was born with cerebral palsy. The parts of his brain that control his motor skills were impacted, but not his intelligence or communication ability. He depends on a motorized wheelchair for all his mobility. “When people see me in this wheelchair, they assume I am mentally disabled. I live my life in a wheelchair, but that’s not who I am. I wish people would focus on my humanity, not my disability.”
Tim would love to be able to work. “My parents taught me you work for what you get. But everything I have is donated, or it’s not mine. I didn’t earn it. I’m 42. I would like to be proud of something that’s mine.”
”Being disabled isn’t cheap,” said Tim. “I have to invest a lot in my wheelchair because it has to work. I would be in bed all the time without it.”
Tim is writing a novel he describes as a mature Harry Potter-like fantasy tale. He’s included a main character with disabilities to portray some of the reality he faces. “I’ve included a little truth with a bit of fantasy. People seem to like that and accept it better.”
Tim has a lot of support from his mom and other family members. “My mom is the best thing that ever happened to me.” He knows that he is lucky to have so many people who stand by him.
He also knows he isn’t alone in the struggles he faces as a person with disabilities. He would love to see things get better for the disabled community. “I’m not the only one. We shouldn’t have to fight so hard to get the simple things we need. We should not be defined by our diagnosis.”
In the meantime, Tim and his mom have a new sense of freedom and hope. They have been welcomed to Jefferson County in grand fashion. “Our neighbors here are very friendly. A few of them even came over and joined us at our bonfire the other night,” said Patty. “We are very glad to be here and glad we found DRA and all the help you give.”
Today there are over 80 people on DRA’s waiting list for ramps and home modifications. Please give today so DRA can build and help others.