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Mobility Matters: Staying “Mentally and Physically Strong” with Mobility Challenges

It can be difficult to remain positive, motivated, and independent when an injury or illness disrupts your plans on a daily basis. Mobility challenges can amplify this daily struggle to (literally) move forward. In honor of May’s Mobility Awareness Month, we asked two Help Hope Live clients how they find motivation and independence in the face of mobility challenges.

Christine Galatis sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of a 2010 surgery. She has been fundraising with Help Hope Live since 2017 as a part of the Northeast Catastrophic Injury Fund.

I believe in the phrase “mobility matters,” because I have had my independence and mobility taken away, which made me realize just how important they are.

After my spinal cord injury, I could not walk. I made it my priority to begin an exercise regimen that would get me moving and out of my wheelchair.

I now attend Journey Forward for physical therapy and use both a standing frame and FES bike at home. This routine is costly, and it requires daily commitment and motivation, but it makes me feel mentally and physically strong.

Finances were a barrier to getting the proper exercise equipment and long-term physical therapy I needed. Living with a spinal cord injury requires a commitment to care and staying active that comes with a cost. Today, I primarily fundraise for those aggressive weekly physical therapy sessions.

I don’t believe the average person realizes the everyday struggles a person with a spinal cord injury faces. I have to organize and plan even the simple daily tasks of living. Whether it is an outing or appointment, a transportation need, or arranging home health care, in order to function, I must plan how I will get all the pieces of the puzzle to fit together.

My life looks different today than it did immediately after my injury. I have figured out the best way to live with a spinal cord injury and get back into an active relationship with my community. Finding purpose and moving forward are the best ways to stay healthy.

My goals for the upcoming year are to continue my commitment to staying active and to keep moving forward in a positive manner. I would love to find new and exciting things to do in my community that are accessible.”

Scarlett Chandler was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that affects the development of the spinal cord and leads to lifelong health challenges. She began fundraising with Help Hope Live in 2015 as part of the Southeast Catastrophic Illness Fund.

I have been in a wheelchair my whole life, and mobility has been one of my biggest hurdles. I started fundraising with Help Hope Live in 2015 because my mom and I need a new accessible van.

My mother has always been my greatest supporter, teaching me to be as independent as possible. She always instilled in me the knowledge that I am more than just a young woman in a wheelchair. I decided that I wanted to learn to drive so I could be as independent as possible and help to take care of our family.

A lot of my days have revolved around medical appointments and ongoing physical therapy. But with my mom’s inspiration behind me, I obtained my GED in 2006 and began volunteering, pursuing college classes, and enjoying other community activities.

At multiple points, my mom and I have faced unexpected expenses that have come up because of my disability. Insurance coverage issues have sometimes led to us having to cover prescription costs out-of-pocket temporarily. In other cases, insurance refused to cover items pertaining to my wheelchair.

I have experienced a few setbacks along the way, but what keeps me going is knowing that God has a plan for me. I believe sharing my story and my heart with others will encourage them.

I realize it’s tough living with a catastrophic injury or illness or needing a transplant. Please know that you were not put on Earth by accident. You may have an injury or a chronic illness, but don’t let it have you, or take your peace and joy.”

There are still more Mobility Matters stories to come! Tune in next week for a new story, and subscribe to our Latest page to get occasional updates in your inbox.

Written by Emily Progin