Dear Tom,

My name is Karen Young from Vandalia, Michigan. I have a son named James who was born six months premature and developed cerebral palsy. During his time in the hospital his weight dropped to 15 ounces and I was told that if he survived his infancy, most likely he would not live past the age of eight because of the trauma his body experienced.

My son is now eighteen years-old and a recent high school graduate. He has been accepted to western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and begins his freshman year this august. James has spastic cerebral palsy and suffers from a high degree of muscle tightness in his legs. He uses forearm crutches and is unable to walk for long distances. The campus is large and James is in need of a mobility scooter, so he can get to his classes. My problem is this—when a parent sends a disabled child to college there are additional expenses you have to cover. In James’ case I have to pay extra tuition, because he needs a handicap dorm room.   

Tom, as a single mother I am stretched financially beyond my limits trying to get what my son needs to go to college. I have reached out to Medicare, Medicaid, C.P. organizations and the university to see if anyone could help me cover the price of a scooter.  Sadly, I have been shot down by everyone I have asked, because of budget cuts and no funding. James wants to be a communication major with the hope of one day becoming a motivational speaker who inspires others with his—“life is what you make it” attitude. It is my Christmas wish to ask for your assistance to get James a mobility scooter to get around campus.   

Yours truly, proud mom, Karen Young


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