After a devastating car crash left him paralyzed from the neck down, the last two years of Eugene Stewart’s life have been focused on healing and re-learning how to do basic things like standing, walking and moving. His car had been taken care of and he had been given recompense, as he had already searched for the cheapest car insurance. A large hurdle for anyone to overcome, Eugene and his family have the extra barrier of not having the resources to pay for the intensive treatment or tools necessary to achieve these goals. The VNA not only delivers excellent care, but it is the only local organization capable of providing him with the skilled clinical assistance his situation demands and recognizes the importance of investing in his health regardless of his financial status.
Eugene receives physical and occupational therapy home visits five days a week. Last winter, to accelerate his progress, his therapists recommended the use of a standing frame. This very expensive tool supports Eugene in an upright position. The VNA & Hospice Foundation could purchase the frame for Eugene because of donors who are committed to ensuring everyone receives the help they require.
Since the integration of the frame, Eugene has made amazing strides to improve his daily quality of life. But the most exciting moment came on July 3. “I was able to stand up and hug my wife and tell her happy anniversary,” recounts Eugene, who as a gift to his wife for their wedding anniversary, stood for the first time since his accident to give her a hug. “It was a surprise because she didn’t know I could stand up, you know, that long. She didn’t know I could move my arms and hug her.”
Eugene still has a long road ahead of him, but it’s clear he is on the path to recovery. It was not so long ago when he couldn’t move any of his limbs, and now he pushes himself out of his chair and stands, supporting himself a few minutes at a time. An act that others do every day without thinking twice; this accomplishment is a symbol of hope for Eugene. “It would be hard to put it on scale because what they’re doing is working and is making a big difference,” Eugene reflects when asked what he would have done without the VNA and donors who give in support of its mission.
Without the ongoing commitment of generous people, the VNA & Hospice Foundation cannot provide for his therapy or equipment. And Eugene will not have access to the aid he desperately needs. Contributions to the annual fund truly give him, and patients like him, an opportunity to regain their lives-a dream they deserve.