Thursday, March 08, 2012

UNLESS someone like you cares - wheelchair accessibility

Picnicking with McDonald’s french fries under sunny skies on a 66˚F (18.8˚C) afternoon only got better when followed by a movie and popcorn. In Patti’s world, after two decades of Multiple Sclerosis sometimes eating for taste trumps eating for health.

While dysphagia is always a clear and present danger at least these comfort foods require no assistance for self-feeding and are easy to monitor. Empowerment can also be a treat.  

"The Lorax" was 90 minutes of pure enjoyment, practically an animated musical. Of course there was a 'message' about protecting the environment but as with all Seuss stories the telling of the story is just so darn entertaining and fun.

While we are blessed to own a wheelchair accessible van that empowers Patti’s freedom, not everyone is. Perhaps even most families caring for some needing a wheelchair do not.

With budget cuts looming, people in wheelchairs, their caregivers and families that depend on subsidized public accessible transportation or contracted providers face an unknown tomorrow. Everything from access to medical care to independence to access to family and friends could shrink.

Like everywhere, Pennsylvania’s budget in these economic times is created with scissors. Gov. Corbett is proposing $620 million in cuts to human services programs; $422 million from basic education on top of the $765 million cut from last year’s budget, 20% cuts to colleges, 35% from State parks, and ‘zero funding’ for public transportation.

Yet this is democracy and these are ‘proposed cuts’ it is time for all interested parties to speak up and be heard. 

MS Awareness in particular is not about one month or one week a year or glitzy ad campaigns. It's about keeping your eyes, ears, and mouth open.

That’s why I found this most disturbing for it is the double whammy of cuts to social services and zero public transportation funding that could most affect the lives of those needing wheelchairs. “Able-bodied people had unfettered access to stairs and elevators that lead to Gov. Tom Corbett’s office on Wednesday. People in wheelchairs did not.” Disability activists targeted in enforcement of Pa. State Capitol's restricted access policy

"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing's going to get better: it's not."
“The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. This is atrocious! Of course, things aren't much better in our little state to the east -- Mr. Christie loves wielding that benefit-slashing sword also. Glad you and Patti had such a nice day!

    1. Thanks we did and I am grateful I can provide outings for Patti. Of course we cannot live on islands and it's long overdue to start speaking out so that others both today and tomorrow can get out.


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