Growing up as a wheelchair user wasn’t easy for Shannon. She needed assistance everywhere she went. When she got her driver’s license on her 16th birthday, her parents recognized the significance of the event. They helped her purchase her very own car, equipped with hand controls for her to drive. Her life changed. For the first time she could go somewhere without assistance. “My self-esteem improved dramatically, and with that, as if a fog had lifted, I had hope for my future,” Shannon said.
Shannon is a single mom. She works for a non-profit organization, and volunteers at Randall Children's Hospital in Portland helping young patients with art projects. She hopes to show them you can have a productive life in a wheelchair. “Although the past 33 years have taken a toll on me physically, emotionally, and financially,”
Due to shoulder damage from many years of loading and unloading her wheelchair into her car, Shannon had to get a wheelchair van. The van is now 15 years old and has over 100,000 miles on it. It breaks down frequently and doesn't have much life left in it. Shannon’s health will not allow her to go back to driving a car, and she cannot afford to replace it with a new wheelchair van.
Shannon’s story is inspiring thousands as she tries to win a nationwide contest to win a new wheelchair accessible vehicle. The contest, sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealer’s Association (NMEDA), encourages people with disabilities who are dealing with and overcoming mobility challenges to share their story on www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com. Stories will be voted on by friends, family and peers, and three lucky winners will be awarded a new customized wheelchair accessible vehicle.
“Because of the work I could do as an ADA consultant, winning this van would not only improve my own quality of life, but it would also improve the lives of countless other people living with disabilities. “ Shannon said. She’s using a special Facebook page (Wheels for Shannon) to generate votes. In mid May, the top 3 vote-getters will be rewarded with a van. Shannon already has more than 8,000 votes.