Monday, December 8, 2003

Motorized wheelchair would make her life easier

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BETHEL - Virginia Ely is the type of person who doesn't let her circumstances get the best of her.

Virginia Ely, 79, of Clermont County, suffers from osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. She needs a motorized wheelchair to get out of the house more.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
Enquirer Wish List section
Friendly, cheerful, and determined, this 79-year-old lifelong Clermont County resident has a great sense of humor. She loves to read and often talks on the phone with friends.

But there are moments when her medical problems overshadow her quality of life.

Ely suffers from osteoporosis, as well as osteoarthritis. Her condition prevents her from standing or walking.

She began using a wheelchair three years ago. She would like to upgrade to a motorized wheelchair.

"Every joint in my body aches. I could go on and on, but it would be boring for you. But for a medical person, it would be a delight," she said.

In the past three years, Ely has broken the same leg three times and had the knee in that leg replaced twice.

She has lived for 45 years in the same house and says she is content with her circumstances.

Pushing the wheels over carpet and through narrow doorways with her arthritic hands causes pain in her shoulders and arms.

She says a motorized wheelchair would help her, but she cannot afford one.

Numerous medical bills from surgeries, prescriptions and rehabilitation, coupled with the 1991 death of her husband, have seriously decreased her income.

A motorized wheelchair would cost about $5,000. Medicare may pay for about $2,200 of the cost, but it will not pre-approve the purchase, according to Clermont Senior Services Inc., which provides Ely with services.

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This story is part of the 18th annual Wish List campaign. The Wish List, an annual project of The Cincinnati Enquirer, is administered by United Way.

Each year the newspaper profiles people in need, and readers respond with cash donations. All the money goes to the less fortunate, and is disbursed by participating social-service agencies. Last year, 1,817 donors contributed $159,671. The total since the project began in 1986: more than $2.4 million.



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