By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 —
Dorothy Staley is in a race against time as she tries to help her son who has cerebral palsy.
Since he was born with cerebral palsy 42 years ago, Dorothy, 75, has tended to Archie in almost every way possible. Along the way, she’s helped him obtain the goals in life she would like for him to achieve in order to live as much of an independent lifestyle as possible.
She’s attended to almost every need along the way, from simple things such as helping him dress to assisting in his physical therapy.
And when the two were involved in a car accident in 2009, it was Dorothy who assisted Archie the most as he tried to recover from a broken back.
But now, what Dorothy and Archie need is some additional help.
Due to government cutbacks in Medicaid, Archie’s physical therapy treatments have gone from three months to three visits. On top of that, the braces that Medicaid issued have not been working properly and have essentially kept Archie bedridden because he’s not able to attempt to walk. With the help of one of her sons, Dorothy designed a stand that has helped Archie get around, but more is needed.
Dorothy is trying to obtain a Gait Harness System II device that would help her son get around more freely. The cost is $7,000, and she’s hoping someone will come to their aid and help pay for the device.
“There’s not a lot I can do for him because of my own limitations and my age. I need to get him up and as independent as he can be before something happens to me,” Dorothy said.
She’s received assistance from a nearby church where they live in Stanfield. Love’s Grove United Methodist Church heard about Archie’s situation and has done its part to establish a site where people can contribute to the cause. Anyone interested can send donations to Love’s Grove UMC, Archie Fund, PO Box 276, Stanfield, NC 28163.
So far, the church has received two donations toward the overall cost after passing the word along to Kim Hopkins at the Methodist district office in Albemarle.
“One of the guys in the church, John McCoy, is an electrician. He had gone up there to make some repairs for Dorothy,” said Donna Jenkins, office adminstrator for the church.
“(Dorothy) had made the statement to (McCoy) that she wished there was some business or company that would make a donation or help buy the equipment. He just brought it to us and we just saw it as a need in the community.
“We just want to help. We can’t do a full-fledged, hands-on benefit but at least we can get the word out to the community.”
Dorothy and Archie were involved in a car accident in 2009 that damaged the thoracic spinal nerve 11 (T11) in Archie’s back. It essentially rendered him a paraplegic.
“In 2009, I decided let’s go to McDonald’s and get a hamburger for supper. On the way back, some teenagers in a car, in my opinion, decided ‘Let’s see if we can beat her across the road,’ ” Dorothy said.
“We had the right of way, they had the stop sign. When I looked up, they were in the middle of the road at the double yellow line and all I saw was a passenger screaming out the window with his hands out the window. I jerked the wheel and we went offroad, airborne and landed on all four tires and it blew Archie’s back out. Now he’s a paraplegic.”
Dorothy broke her breastbone but has recovered. But with her advanced age — she has had three surgeries for a back injury she sustained in 1982 — she has been trying to prepare Archie so he can live on his own or with as little assistance as possible. That’s where the Gait Harness System II comes in.
With Medicaid providing braces that don’t work as they are supposed to, this device will help Archie achieve the mobility he needs to be more productive and possibly even regain feeling back to the lower half of his body again.
“Archie proved in therapy that he can walk. He can’t feel from the waist down. He’s starting to regain some feeling but not real use of his legs. But if you touch his legs, he can feel,” Dorothy said.
“In order to stand, he has to wear long-leg braces that lock at the knee because his knees give out. They just buckle. When they made the braces, they were a disaster, they were a total disaster. They spent more time in the shop than Archie could wear them.
“I went online and found the walker. If we can get some wonderful person or business ... I told (McCoy), I said ‘What I need to do is find a business owner that would like a tax write off. A big business that could pay for it and as a tax write-off. It wouldn’t even be $7,000 out of their pocket.”
Dorothy has been grateful for what the church has done and believes someone out there can help them achieve the monetary goal needed to help make Archie’s life a little easier.
“Everyone that meets Archie falls in love with him. He’s a very loving, outgoing wonderful young man. Totally upbeat,” Dorothy said.
“(McCoy) said ‘Let me see what I can do. Maybe I can take it to the church and see if they can.’ They want to help their members and there’s lots of needs from lots of people, but they’ve decided to go beyond that and see if they can do something like this, reach out to other community members to see if they can maybe collectively, we can get the Gait Harness paid for.”
To submit story ideas to Jason O. Boyd, call (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or send an email to jason@stanly newspress.com.