Monday, December 10, 2012

Sandy’s Victims Get Helping Hand from United Cerebral Palsy of New York

Schevone Williams
Gravesend, Brooklyn resident, thirty-two year old Schevone Williams, who has cerebral palsy, lost almost everything when her apartment was inundated with flood waters from the torrential forces of Hurricane Sandy.

Using a specialized device to communicate Williams explained what happened.

"My apartment was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy,” said Williams. “I lost everything my hospital bed, my motorized wheelchair and all of my clothes.”

In addition to her specialized equipment which makes her life possible as a person with cerebral palsy, she also lost the ordinary objects everyone needs in their home, such as her major appliances including her refrigerator, stove and washing machine.

Williams, who is dependent on her $17,000 wheelchair for mobility, was at home when the flood waters entered, bringing in debris from the outside, and threatening to drown her.

“The Fire Department actually rescued Schevone, that’s how serious it was for her,” says Amy Bittinger the director of Family Support Services with United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.

According to Bittinger UCP of New York had to come to the aid immediately of many clients who were at risk during Sandy. Now there most pressing concern is finding Williams a replacement wheelchair.

“We were able to get her a loaner manual chair with proper positioning and we were able to get her augmentative communication device working again,” says Bittinger.

The Kensington branch of United Cerebral Palsy of New York has many visitors with a range of disabilities due to the popularity of their innovative “tech works” room. The room offers the latest in technology to help ease some of the challenges of having cerebral palsy or other disabilities, including iPads, which can help with communication. There is also a mobile van which visits different locations throughout the city to publicize the latest assistive technologies.

“This way we can go to communities that can’t come here and tabling events and be able to show products at those events,” says Liz Voluz, the director of Assistive Technology.

United Cerebral Palsy of New York has been answering the phones non-stop since Sandy devastated so many lives, helping people with disabilities get their lives back on track by getting their hi-tech equipment replaced. Workers at UCP New York say that Williams should have a new wheelchair before Christmas.