PLEASE HELP ME REGAIN MY INDEPENDENCE!!!
On January 9, 2017, life changed as I knew it. Prior to that date, I was a private duty LPN enjoying taking care of sick children, studying to become an RN, and was known around town for my unique crochet designs. Even though I’d been diagnosed with Lupus in 2008, I had adjusted and life was good. But, that all changed when out of the middle of nowhere, I suffered a massive stroke.
I can’t describe what I felt on that Monday evening when my mother found me on my bedroom floor where I later learned I had been for more than three hours, fighting for my life. I spent the next 52 days in the hospital which included an emergency craniotomy, and in March was sent home with part of my skull missing, paralyzed on my right side, partially blind in my right eye and extensive damage to the language and memory center of my brain leaving me with aphasia and unable to read and write. Thus, the lifelong rehab journey began.
Fast forward four and a half years and I’m progressing along. I’m walking with a cane, reading at a fifth grade level, and my vision and speech are gradually improving. However I’m still not able to use my right arm and hand.
In early 2020, my physical therapist told me about an orthotic device called the MyoPro that he felt could possibly restore functioning to my paralyzed right arm and hand. It would be designed specifically for me and would work by reading nerve signals from the surface of my skin thereby activating small motors to move my arm and hand. Excited, we began the long application process. After a virtual assessment by a clinician from the company that makes the MyoPro, I was a good candidate so the next step was to have my insurance approve it. The approval was denied by the insurance company. I appealed and in January of 2021, a judge sided with the insurance company.
The reason given for the denial was that the device was “experimental,” which made no sense to us since we had observed a patient in our home town being trained to use the device that was paid for by the insurance company. We also had documentation of several federal appeals where judges ruled in favor of the client, but none of that seemed to matter in our case. After four denials we felt we had been treated unfairly and left with no choice except to look for other ways to pay for the MyoPro.
My rehab journey hasn’t been easy but anyone who knows me, including doctors and therapists, know that I am determined to regain as much of my independence as possible. My goals are to resume doing things such as preparing my food, styling my hair, and other daily activities that most people take for granted; and to complete my RN and return to gainful employment in some capacity.
In 2019, due to right eye weakness, I failed the evaluation to get my driver’s license reinstated. Disappointed but not discouraged, at the suggestion of the vocational rehab therapist, I resumed crocheting with my non-dominant left hand and knee. I am not a quitter. I believe that the MyoPro brace will help me regain my independence so that I can in turn continue to help others. Your donation to Help Hope Live would bring me closer to making this a reality and would be greatly appreciated!
Family and friends of Mia Russell are raising money for the nonprofit Help Hope Live (in honor of Mia)to fund uninsured medical expenses associated with Catastrophic Illness.
Mia has chosen to fundraise for Help Hope Live in part because Help Hope Live assures fiscal accountability of funds raised and tax deductibility for contributors. Contributors can be sure donations will be used to pay or reimburse medical and related expenses. To make a tax-deductible donation to this fundraising campaign, click on the GIVE button. And please share Mia’s page on your social media platforms.
For more information, please contact Help Hope Live at 800.642.8399.
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In honor of Mia Russell
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087