My name is Michael Faulkner. Im 32 years old and for the past nine years I’ve been living with paralysis from a motor vehicle accident, and its been the hardest struggle of my life. In November of 2009 I was in a horrific car accident one night while out with friends. I was not driving.
It left me paralyzed from my shoulders down. The scariest part of the whole ordeal was waking up from unconsciousness upside down in a destroyed vehicle while yelling at anyone I saw to get me out. After slipping back into unconsciousness I awoke being wheeled into emergency surgery.
It took at least two weeks to fully realize what happened and the condition I was in. I spent three months in the hospital, two months of which were just from healing. Not only was I healing from injuries, I was overcoming a large MRSA infection that I contracted while I was in the hospital. That was hands down the roughest part of my life. Not only the pain from the infection was bad, so was the therapy.
Learning the exercises I need to do was the easy part, it was the execution. My body hurt horribly but it would pass as time went on. I currently live with my uncle. He has been the only family member that was willing to help me get things back on track. I thought that I would have my own place by now, along with an education, a job, and a social life. It has been anything but that. I had to use all the settlement money that I got for a used wheelchair van.
When I first got it was in decent condition but it had some rust, which I didn’t think was too bad. It ran great for having 140k+ miles on the engine and it seemed like it would last a while so I purchased it. Since I live in a rural area, having a reliable vehicle is important; it’s practically a lifeline.
The past few years have been really hard for us with this van. We had to replace the engine in 2017 after it died while my uncle was going grocery shopping. We had to rely on neighbors to take him grocery shopping until it got fixed. Unfortunately the engine was used and had 150k+ miles on it, but it was all we could afford. Now the major problem with it is something we can’t fix, that’s rust.
The passenger sliding door tracks are so rusted that the door doesn’t open automatically anymore. It has to be forced opened and closed and I am afraid that door is going to get stuck closed one day while i’m inside of it. Not only that, the floor has rusted so bad that a hole opened up where I park my chair. The hole is the entire length of my chair and half the width. We had to get a piece of metal from a steel shop and we screwed it down secure so it’s somewhat safe again. This van, I can only describe it as a money pit and a death trap.
I’m praying that it’ll hold up until I can get a new van. The only thing that has been holding me back from getting a new van in funds. I’m on SSDI, which is not much. My uncle is my caregiver full time and with what he gets from the state of Illinois, along with my disability check, is enough to cover our monthly bills and groceries. As of now, I am doing everything I possibly can to raise enough to get a newer, better, more reliable van that I can feel safe in and I am asking for your help so I can have this lifeline secured. I hate asking for help, it’s kind of in my nature I guess, but this is something I desperately need to continue an independent life.
Thank you and God bless, Michael Faulkner