Gail Johnson is one of the many people with disabilities affected by Superstorm Sandy. Johnson, an elderly woman, has a disability which severely limits her mobility. As a result, she requires a wheelchair to get around her home.
Johnson was given a manual wheelchair in February of 2014. Because of her disability it was still difficult for her to maneuver and enjoy the benefits of independent living. Through the collaborative efforts of the Visitation Relief Center (VRC), Alliance Center for Independence (ACI) and Catholic Charities Disaster Response Program, Gail has received a power wheelchair.
The wheelchair, which has a 22-inch seat and adjustable arms, was obtained by Susan Pniewski, ACI Sandy Relief Project Director, one of VRC’s many partners. The power chair was transported to Johnson’s home in a box truck, which had been contracted through Catholic Charities Disaster Response Program. It was delivered to Johnson on Thursday, October 30, 2014.
“The wheelchair will improve her mobility, moving in and out of her home,” Pniewski said. “The [adjustable] arms moving out of the way will make it much easier for her to transfer.”
Pniewski said that ACI will also be awarding Johnson a $2,000 grant towards a platform lift for her home during the rebuilding process. She said that ACI will be awarding these grants to storm-affected members of the community who have disabilities, and that they will continue to offer free replacement of medical equipment.
Pniewski said that Johnson told her in a phone conversation that this was the first time someone told her “I’m going to help you.” When she first saw the power wheelchair, Johnson said, “It’s beautiful!"