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Access Living releases recommendations to help people with disabilities from gun violence

Michael A Walthall

Michael Walthall is pictured outdoors in a street seated in his wheelchair with his feet and hands on a Batec adaptive mobility bike that protrudes from the front of his wheelchair with a large front wheel. Michael has brown skin, short black hair, and athletic warm weather clothing.

Following two and a half years of research, Chicago’s Access Living group released insights on how to help people living with disabilities due to gun violence.

Their insights were compiled from recommendations from more than 100 survivors of gun violence, including Help Hope Live client Michael Walthall.

In 2016, Michael sustained a spinal cord injury when a violent unprovoked attack while he was in his car erupted into gun violence.

“My life was coming together and then this senseless act put everything to a halt”

Living with paralysis, Michael experienced firsthand the challenges of finding meaningful resources and community support. Fundraising with Help Hope Live is a key part of his journey today to bring critical care, assistive technology, and medical resources within reach.

“Many people didn’t make it, but what are we doing for those who did make it?”

Recommendations from Access Living touched on peer support, disability inclusion training for health care, employment resources, financial resources, and mental health support.

Michael believes greater support should start in the first year after injury – not just many years down the line. With a new career instantly disrupted by his injury, he struggled with finding a new sense of purpose and visualizing his future.

“I still have a purpose – and that’s what I’m hoping to do for others.”

Michael Walthall is seated in his black wheelchair with a big smile on a basketball court as he holds a basketball in gloved hands. Michael has brown skin and short black hair. Written by Emily Progin