Donna was born with Cerebral Palsy (what is it?). She's cute as a button and loves to laugh, but
she has lived with terrible hardship and pain. CP affects a persons muscular control. Donna has
very little control of her arms, legs and hands, and she has some difficulty speaking. She must
depend upon others for help with dressing, eating, bathing and other care. She had surgery on
her right hip and must live with severe pain every day of her life. She cannot stand or walk, and
she is spastic. Simple everyday tasks that most of us take for granted are very difficult or
impossible for her to accomplish by herself.  Just answering the phone, or trying to feed herself
takes a great effort and can result in something spilled on herself or dropped on the floor. For
many years she didn't have adequate transportation, and has spent too many lonely days at
home alone. When she was working she had to travel to a bus stop almost a mile from her home
in her wheelchair, with no protection from the pouring rain and freezing cold, crossing very
busy intersections. She missed many days of work because of the weather. The weekends and
holidays were horribly lonely for her. "I felt like I was in jail...like a bird trapped in a cage".
"
Nobody gave a (bleep) about me!" she says. Then she met Jim. He told her every day "You
deserve a life!" Here is their story.
Donna and Jim fought with NJ Transit for over a year
to get her approved to use the special bus service for
the disabled(Access Link). For over four years she
was denied any usable public transportation and had
to go out alone in her power wheelchair with no
protection from the rain and the cold. Nobody cared
enough to help her. Even with service from Access
Link the disabled must book a trip days in advance
and then they often wait for over an hour when the
bus is late for the scheduled pick-up. They arrive late
for work or miss out on a movie or dinner
appointment when the busses arrive late. Access
Link refuses to improve the quality of their service.
About two years ago a horrible thing
happened. The front wheels of Donna's
power wheelchair got stuck on the railroad
tracks one day when she was out traveling
home from her job at the nursing home.  If
a passing motorist had not stopped and
pushed her wheelchair off the tracks an
unthinkable tragedy would have occurred.
Still, no one stepped forward to make
certain  D. got transportation until she met
Jim.  Several persons who were supposed
to be helping her were aware that she had
to cross the tracks to get to work, yet no
one cared enough to do anything about this
dangerous situation. "When she called me
on the phone the day she got stuck on the
tracks, to tell me what happened,  she was
crying hysterically" Jim says. "I knew I
had to do something to help."
The disabled are often the neglected members of
society. They want to be part of our world, but they
are forced to sit at home alone or are isolated in
workshops.
"I DESERVE A LIFE" is a group of
individuals dedicated to helping disabled adults find
'real' jobs and become active members of our
communities. We are in the process of forming a
non-profit corporation in the State of New Jersey to
provide transportation to those whose disability
prevents them from using public transportation. We
are in need of legal assistance to help with the
incorporation. If you would like to help you can
reach us at the following e-mail address:
james@ideservealife.org.
Donna is often in severe pain. Her right hip
socket was removed after she broke it in a fall,
but as it now stands Medicare and Medicaid will
not pay for all the services and equipment she
needs. We are hoping to find a concerned
physician and/or attorney who will help her fight
for her rights.
DONNA'S STORY
the daily struggle for accessibility
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Be sure to check our            to read important updates on changes in Donna's life and additional
commentary on living with a disability and other issues. And check out Donna's latest
photos on Flickr
You can listen to my new CD for free here
We had a bit of a miracle this week. Donna
walked with the aide of her physical therapist
today...05-13-05. Who said Friday the 13th is an
unlucky day! This is the first time Donna has
walked at all in over 25 years. Not bad for
someone who has no hip socket in her right hip!
Read more
here.
New VIDEOS of Donna can now be
viewed online
here
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