The staff and community members at the St. Francis Nursing Care Center in Newport News, Virginia recently stepped up in a big way for one resident.
Gilbert Christian has suffered from cerebral palsy since birth. He enjoys being an active resident at St. Francis Nursing Care Center. However, when his electric wheelchair recently started slowing down, Gilbert was desperate to replace it quickly.
Gilbert maintains his independence and mobility throughout the nursing care center thanks to his electric wheelchair. He loves participating in the many activities offered at the care center.
Without his electric wheelchair, Gilbert is completely dependent on staff and volunteers to get around as his chair can be difficult to move manually. When his chair wasn’t working properly, Gilbert would have to wait in one place until someone came to get him.
“With his medical coverage, it would take approximately 1 to 2 years to collect all of his patient pay that would essentially pay for the wheelchair,” shares Tammy Bouchard, the center’s rehab manager. “I personally did not feel his current wheelchair would last that long.”
Gilbert’s need was brought to the attention of the St. Francis Nursing Care Center’s Director of Spiritual Care by the members of the SFNC Catholic community who attend Mass at the center. It would cost $5,000 to purchase a new electric wheelchair for Gilbert. Luckily, the St. Francis Nursing Care Center Foundation was able to provide matching grant money as well as money from a second grant to cover the wheelchair costs.
From there, the SFNC Catholic community banded together. They raised private donations to replenish the grant from SFNC foundation. Many SFNC staff members made contributions toward the purchase of the new electric wheelchair as well.
Today, we are happy to report that Gilbert has his new electric wheelchair and is completely mobile.