Home Accessibility Funding Shortfalls Sees St. Catharines Family Turn to Crowdfunding

GoFundMe launched to cover cost of new in-home lift for son
Abby Green
Niagara This Week – St. Catharines
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

As Michelle and Tyler Sanders see it, everybody should feel comfortable in their own home.

Every day for the six years of his life, the Sanders have had to carry their son Everett up the stairs to his bedroom.

Everett has disabilities that require near constant care, including spastic quadriplegia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and cerebral palsy. Everett is also autistic and is primarily fed through a gastrostomy tube.

Were at a place where he’s six years old (and) both my husband and I, our bodies are showing symptoms of chronic lifting, Michelle said. We’re coming to the point that it’s becoming unsafe for us to do that and it’s also becoming unsafe for Everett to travel in that way, and we need to take action in some way in order to stay in our home.

The family wants to install a lift to bring Everett up to his room, therefore saving their bodies, and providing him some independence as he gets older.

However, the Sanders said people are surprised to learn theyll have to pay for the lift themselves.

I’ve had conversations with friends and they asked I thought that was fully covered, said Tyler. For this particular project, we found quite a bit (of funding), but it’s not nearly (enough). There’s quite a big gap.

The Sanders family spent months working on various applications to get $10,000 funded for the project through private companies.

Its projected the lift will cost $75,000.

In order to raise the remaining funds for the lift, the family has started a GoFundMe, with hopes of raising at least $15,000.

They arent the only ones who have experienced this problem.

Jo-Anne Smith, a social worker with the Niagara Children Centre, said many families face barriers when trying to get help.

For families with a child with a disability, finding financial resources to assist them with those extraordinary costs can be challenging, there’s no doubt about it, she said. Often even those resources, even if they’re the best parent advocate, they often will fall short.

Smith explained the eligibility requirements for some of the funding can be quite strict.

It could be based on age or income or citizenship or diagnosis, she said. So that right there is one barrier right off the bat.

Limited funding resources, and a high demand on these services, is one of the biggest barriers, Smith said.

Because of the strained resources, Smith said families are often forced to piecemeal different agencies together to get an expensive item covered.

She also said the existing applications tend to be quite complex, requiring doctors to fill out forms, provide proof of diagnosis, etc., and some families just dont have the time.

I always say to families It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, she said. The future just comes so quickly and it’s important for families to think ahead and plan both short term and long term you almost have to map out your path.

But the lift is just one of many disability-related costs.

The situation weve had in the last number of years, we’ve had to get an accessible van and have that converted, Michelle said. As well as just thinking down the road. We’re looking at lifting tracks in our house, which are very pricey. We’re looking at supported seating. We’re looking at the costs of things like standing frames and walkers and assisted toileting needs and clothes and shower chairs and back seat, that sort of thing.

To see the fundraiser, search Everetts Elevator on GoFundMe.

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After seeing the GoFundMe for Everetts elevator on social media, reporter Abby Green wanted to reach out to the family to learn more about the costs theyve incurred having a disabled son.

Original at https://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/10687705-home-accessibility-funding-shortfalls-sees-st-catharines-family-turn-to-crowdfunding/