We are writing this letter to give you information about my husband Bob and to ask for your help. As you know, Bob has a genetic neuromuscular disorder called FSH muscular dystrophy. It is a progressive disease that causes the degeneration of Bob’s muscles. This particular form of MD affects the muscles that Bob uses to stand, walk, lift, and even smile. There is no cure for this disease, but most people with FSH MD live a normal life span, however, its victims are often left unable to walk or stand.
Bob has been in a power wheelchair for about two years, but he continues to do what he can to live a full life. He attends ACTS Int’l Bible College and is working towards a degree in Ministry. He would eventually like to work with “at risk” youth. Until recently, Bob was able to use a ramp that was built for him to load his power chair into the back of his pickup truck so he could go to college and make visits to residents of two different nursing homes. He could only use the ramp if it wasn’t raining or snowing. Bob’s muscles have degenerated to a point now where the muscles in his upper body can no longer support his frame therefore He can no longer use the ramp without help. He is unable to stand or walk more than a few steps and getting in and out of his wheelchair is very painful and is nearing impossible. We can see it is time to find a long-term solution to Bob’s mobility problems by raising funds to purchase a wheelchair-equipped van. Bob has so much to office his church and community, but he has become a prisoner of his home now that he has to use his wheelchair full time. Most people don’t know that his chair weighs almost 300 pounds, so just getting it from one place to another presents its own challenges.
Bob and I and his family have pooled our resources together and have raised about $5,000 to contribute to this fund. I have researched every possible avenue for funds from the State of MN, MDA, and other private foundations without much success. It seems there are programs for the disabled, but none of them provide handicapped accessible transportation, except for one; an organization called Mobility For Independence. (http://www.mobilityforindependence.org/) They have a special account set up for Bob and all donations sent to that fund are tax deductible! A few of our friends and family members contributed to this fund last summer during their annual fundraiser, where Bob was a featured applicant and contributed a total of $580. There are some matching funds possible from MFI, but it depends on the grants the have available in 2006. Bob’s sister and I will continue to work with this organization in order to maximize our fundraising efforts. Through a set of amazing circumstances, Bob’s sister found a 2004 Chrysler Town and Country wheelchair accessible van with only 6,400 miles on it (see photo above). She talked to the owner and he agreed to wait until April 15th for the money. We need to raise approximately $35,000 total in order to pay for the van and other mobility related expenses. As one family member put it, “it’s time to circle the wagons, pull together, and help Amy and Bob.” So you can see we still have quite a ways to go to raise the rest of the money we need to get the van.
What can you do? First of all, please pray for us as we embark on this journey. Second, will you lead a group of walkers in our upcoming walk-a-thon? It is scheduled for February 11th from 1-3. We will have walkers at all the major malls in the Minneapolis Metro area and are hoping to have other walkers at other malls around the country from our friends who live elsewhere. If we can all get 35 people to ask 10 friends or relatives to walk and get $100 from each in sponsors, we can raise the entire amount in one day! Third, would you consider being a group leader? If not, can you walk with us and get $100 or more in sponsors? If not, would you consider sponsoring me or Bob on our walk and donating $10, $25, $50, or $100? No amount is too large or small. Does the company you work for match employee donations? MFI is a 5013c Foundation so all donations are tax deductible. Let me know if your company is going to match funds so we can direct them to Bob’s account. Finally, be creative. Ask your church’s youth group to adopt Bob and perform public service projects or fundraisers. This van will make a huge difference in Bob’s life. Can you send a check to MFI? We’ve enclosed a self addressed enveloped. Please make sure to write “Bob” in the memo section of your check.
Thank you all for your prayers and support through the years. We love and appreciate you more than we can express in this one letter. Please don’t feel obligated to donate your time or money. We know what it’s like to be strapped financially and with all the disasters over the past year, we know giving has been on the minds of many. However, please keep this fundraiser in your prayers and ask God to be behind all we do. Finally, if you have already given, thank you. We really appreciate your generosity towards us. We don’t expect you to give more. If you could, would you consider passing our letter on to someone else who might be willing to give? Thanks so much.
God bless and much love,
Amy & Bob