Kelsey tells her Peer Support Story
Almost 5 years ago, I was invited to join a group of seniors & those with disabilities to a ‘painting class’. We gathered Monday mornings for this class and I remember being so nervous to go because I didn’t know what to expect. I was in a wheelchair at the time and was used to getting judged constantly for it. I was in tears as soon as I got there the first day and rushed to the bathroom to collect myself.
Little did I know I would leave class that day with more than just painting tips and tricks. I left with people I can now call family. People that would never judge, always there to listen, truly do show that they care and have taught me more than they will ever, ever know. We still get together every Monday morning and paint & talk our hearts out. The relationships we have built with one another cannot be replaced.
In March, we got to show off some of our masterpieces in an art show at The Market here in beautiful downtown Warrensburg. To say each and every person is super talented is such an understatement. They have all overcame many obstacles in life and art has helped us get through them.
Wayne’s Ramp Story
Wayne had been unable to leave his home without assistance for months when he met Reverend Moody. The Reverend quickly made the connection with WILS and shared the details of Wayne’s dire situation with WILS CDS Specialist, Renia.
Renia’s 15 years of experience with WILS provided her with the knowledge and ability to assist Wayne. Renia assisted Wayne with the ramp application process, and once submitted, it was approved. Eddie and Bryan, WILS Ramp & Maintenance staff were able to quickly build and install a high-quality ramp for Wayne. Eddie and Bryan said that Wayne was so thrilled with his ramp that he began to show it off to all his neighbors.
Wayne said, “I can’t thank WILS enough. I spent about 45 minutes outside yesterday for the first time in around 4 months. I no longer feel trapped. You guys are great!”
Keelie’s IL Story
Keelie was just 9 years old when she had a brain aneurysm rupture at home and the ambulance had to pull over 3 times to resuscitate her. She was in a coma for 11 days, with a machine breathing for her. After the 11 days, her mom, Victoria, was told to prepare for the worst. When Keelie woke, she did not recognize Victoria.
Keelie had to re-learn to walk, to use the restroom, to hold a fork, and to perform many other daily living activities all over again. Keelie’s short term memory was also affected, and she had to do many different types of therapy.
When WILS stepped in to begin working with Keelie, she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer in the WILS office and participate in peer support events. These activities gave Keelie and Victoria a chance to be apart, which did not happen often. Volunteering brought Keelie out of her shell and brightened her spirits. Victoria said anything that WILS had going on, Keelie wanted to go, but without her mom. It gave Keelie independence that she did not have before. Sadly, Keelie developed two new brain aneurysms and passed away. Victoria’s goal is to share Keelie’s story to spread brain injury awareness because it is not a visible disability. If you know someone who, like Keelie, has a disability and needs assistance, please reach out to WILS.
Jackie’s TAP Story
Jackie is one of the 48 million Americans that report some degree of hearing loss. She was experiencing difficulty hearing on her home phone. so she sought help at AccuQuest Hearing Center in Sedalia. She tried several of their suggestions without success, and was referred to WILS.
CDS Specialist Samantha took Jackie into the Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) room, and Jackie was amazed at all of the TAP phone options WILS had. Jackie was used to a cordless phone, so she picked up the Amplidect 350 model to try first. Samantha helped Jackie initiate a test call with one of the other WILS case workers.
During the first call, the boost (amplification volume) was on the lowest level and when Jackie heard the case worker talk, her eyes lit up! She was astonished at the fact she could clearly hear the case worker on the other line.
During the second call, the pair turned the volume up to the middle of the boost, and Jackie thought it was incredible that she could have a clear and easy conversation on the phone without having to strain to hear the person on the other end. It was clear, this was the phone for her.
Cheryl’s MFP Transition Story
In 2014 Cheryl had a stroke which left her paralyzed on one side and was eventually admitted into a nursing facility, where she lived for over 2 years.
After regaining some of her mobility and strength back in the nursing facility, Cheryl wished she could live on her own again. Then someone told her about the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program.
WILS MFP Coordinator, Skyler, met with Cheryl and explained how MFP could assist with the expenses of transitioning back to the community and to a place Cheryl could call home.
Today, Cheryl is doing great! With the help of WILS Transportation Program Cheryl goes to Occupational and Physical Therapy. She can now walk with her cane around her apartment and with help, around her apartment complex.
Cheryl’s biggest joy is being able to spend more time with her grandkids.
Christian tells his Independent Living Story
Hi my name is Christian and I’m a quadriplegic. WILS allows me to live independently and be a productive member of the community.
WILS also provides peer support and independent living training which helps me overcome challenges related to my disability. WILS gives me freedom and hope which I would not have in a nursing home. WILS has improved my quality of life and given me new opportunities.
Chris’s Peer Support Story
Chris started coming to the painting group a few months ago. He has Parkinson’s disease and was invited by WILS consumers, Judy and Don. They have been involved in the peer support painting group from the beginning and thought Chris would benefit from the class.
Chris used to paint with his right hand before he had Parkinson’s, but his hand would shake so badly that he could no longer control a brush. Since coming to the group Chris has been using his left hand to paint, and it has made a big impact. The other Peer Support members give him the encouragement he needs to continue to improve and each week it is reflected in his work.