My name is Belinda. I’m a wife and mother of two boys. I was diagnosed with ALS in 2004. I am still living with ALS not dying from it. I became Wheelchair dependent [and] it got to the point I dreaded going out.
We used to go on a lot of outings (game watch parties, club gatherings, friends parties, parades) but with everyone standing, I was by myself. People had to bend down to hug me and then I’d spend hours left out and forgotten because I wasn’t seen. It was lonely, so I just stopped going out.
Then — It was time for me to get a new wheelchair. Surprisingly so many things you’d think are a necessity, insurance considers a “convenience.” Seat elevation, forward tilt so you could be almost standing, backward tilt to be flat to aide in transfers to bed, lights to use at night and many other things are not covered.
I reached out to Brigance Brigade Foundation and they offered a grant to cover my seat elevation.
This [picture is from the] first time I took my new chair out to meet friends, the only tables available were “high tops.” The hostess apologized and I told her not to worry. She looked puzzled, but the 9 of us were seated. I hit my elevation button, and I was at same height as everyone. Eye level. My husband saw me smile and he had tears in his eyes. For the FIRST time in years I was included. I told stories and laughed for hours. I was so happy. It’s hard to explain the joy I felt return to me that night. Now I go out a lot, and elevate so I am eye level and-noticed (and included).
Something so simple has brought such happiness. Thank you. I am so grateful.