Another year, another entry in the National Mobility Awareness Month Hero contest (#NMAM15). An accessible van is no longer a want, it is a need. Kerstin is now 13 and weighs over 80 lbs. herself with a wheelchair that weighs 68.8 lbs. Every stop we make, I am lifting about 150 lbs. not counting her things needed for care and hygiene.
Along with Kerstin being a teenager, she likes to be on the go. Kerstin likes going to the movies, to Target, and other outings. When that many stops are factored into one outing, there is some heavy lifting being done. I have never been the mom to keep her sheltered and hidden, she is on the go, out and about as much as possible. Also, Kerstin has a number of doctors and other appointments that she has, they keep us on the go as well.
A dear friend submitted the entry this year for the van contest, here's some of what she had to say:
"I open my email in Dallas to find new photos from my dear friend Mattisa, and I smile. The pictures let me share her and her 13-year-old daughter Kerstin’s lives in Hayneville, Alabama (pop. 994). Most days, Mattisa and her “Sweetpea” drive their old 2001 van to Montgomery, Selma or Birmingham – 40, 38 and 125 miles each way respectively. They go for school, basic shopping, shows and – most importantly – Kerstin’s doctors, nurses, therapists and surgeons. She was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy at 6 months and with hip dysplasia, epilepsy and lung-threatening scoliosis after that. Last year, Kerstin weighed just 40 pounds, necessitating a life-saving, permanent feeding tube. She’s now a normal 80 pounds. Despite her many disabilities, surgeries and ongoing seizures, Kerstin is a sweet, smiling girl. Her first love is, of course, her magical mom who’s always there for her. In my eyes, Mattisa is exactly the hero every mom hopes she’d be if her child were disabled. She knows her little girl will never walk, talk, gesture or care for herself, but the words “complain” and “sympathy” are not in her vocabulary. A single mom, she always keeps Kerstin safely tucked by her side as she works, volunteers (a lot!) and advocates for disabled children. She even completed her Associates’ Degree in Education this year and is moving on to a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work/Human Services. Not surprisingly, her favorite song is “I’m Invincible.” And yet, I worry. Mattisa’s back and shoulders are deteriorating. Each time the two get into or out of their van, she lifts Kerstin along with her wheelchair and gear (150+ pounds). An average day is 8 stops – or 1,200 pounds of lifting. What’s more, with Kerstin’s delicately fused spine, any jolt could be disastrous. My dream is to see my hero, Mattisa Moorer, win the wheelchair-accessible NMEDA vehicle. It would literally be a life-changing miracle."
If you don't mind, please give us a daily vote in the contest. Don't forget to answer the daily question for an extra vote. Thank you so much for the support. You can vote for us here.
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