After Sandy sloshed ashore many people with disabilities had to overcome major obstacles from the loss of wheelchairs and lack of medicine. United Cerebral Palsy of New York City in Brooklyn has been working to meet patient needs. NY1’s Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
Schevone Williams, 32, has cerebral palsy and when flood waters from Sandy entered her home in Gravesend, Brooklyn her world was quite literally turned upside down.
She uses an augmentative communication device to explain what happened.
"My apartment was destroyed by hurricane sandy,” Williams says. “I lost everything my hospital bed, my motorized wheelchair and all of my clothes.”
Photos of her apartment show almost everything inside, including major appliances like the fridge were ruined and debris from the outside came into their home.
Williams, who depends on her $17,000 motorized wheelchair, was in danger of drowning.
“The Fire Department actually rescued Schevone, that’s how serious it was for her,” says Amy Bittinger the director of Family Support Services with United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.
Bittinger says the organization had to jump to action to save clients who were vulnerable during the storm. Their immediate concern is to get Williams a new wheelchair.
“We were able to get her a loaner manual chair with proper positioning and we were able to get her augmentative communication device working again,” says Bittinger.
Many people with disabilities have been visiting the organization's Brooklyn facility. The facility has a 'tech works' room, which is especially popular with people like Williams because it’s filled with the latest technology.
The room offers iPads, which can help them communicate. If the patient finds it effective, they can order one. They also have a mobile van that they take to different locations around the city to showcase the technology.
“This way we can go to communities that can’t come here and tabling events and be able to show products at those events,” says Liz Voluz, the director of Assistive Technology.
United Cerebral Palsy of New York City has been working the phones to help people with disabilities get their technology replaced and they say Williams should have a new power chair in time for Christmas.
For more information visit ucpnyc.org or call 1-877-UCPCONNECT