The Inspiration Behind Navy Street Charity
On December 8, 1983, I left the hospital after visiting my mother and my newly born baby sister. Only to find out minutes later that an accident occurred during the delivery process. What was supposed to be a joyous occassion for my family turned out to be a time of severe duress. My mother sustained a sudden and traumatic spinal cord injury that occurred during delivery. This medical accident left my mother as a paraplegic with permanent nerve damage, loss of movement and feeling of her body from her waist down. She could no longer walk, be independant or care for her young family. She instantaneously had to deal with the fact that she was going to live out the rest of her life as a paraplegic in a wheelchair.
This situation abruptly left her disabled and left me as a very scared 9 year old child. As I watched her go through the trials and tribulations of being a paraplegic and her new life confined to a wheelchair, I realized how challenging her life became, and how I was truly blessed that I was able to walk, run and play. In this new experience, with a new perspective I was utterly astonished at the amount of obstacles that existed in her world as I observed through my own eyes. I quickly realized that life as our family once knew it had changed forever, and that we as a family were all just introduced into a new world, particularily a world that was not well suited for wheelchairs.
Our frustrations as a family quickly reached there peak when my mother could not easily access our own home. As a family we encountered daily sets of stairs inside and outside of our home. We no longer could visit the homes of many family members or friends due to the limitations of stairs and slowly we became secluded. I quickly learned a few tricks in order to help my mother. Out of sheer necessity, I learned how to lift my mother in her wheelchair up the set of 10 stairs that led her into our home. With inventiveness, I began to tilt and balance her wheelchair on its back wheels and lift her up one stair at a time. This was grueling for my small frame as a child and extremely frightening for my mother. This frustrating situation along with so many other challenges related to her condition has gone on for more than 30 years in my family's home, until I was inspired to do something that could help my mother as well as many others who are impacted the exact same way, and in the summer of 2016 Navy Street Charity was born.
Navy Street is a charitable organization that provides FREE PORTABLE WHEELCHAIR RAMPS. My aim is to help those who suddenly have to live out the remainder of their life from a wheelchair. A portable wheelchair ramp will provide individuals and their families with accessibility and inclusivity options. Navy Street is a metaphor for another street traveled that is different from the standard street or path. My mission is to optimize a persons life who is confined to a wheelchair and provide them with portable options regarding accessibility for the home or travel. The dictionary defines the word charity as simply the act of giving voluntarily to those in need. It's taken from the word caritas, or simply, love. In Colossians 3, the Bible instructs readers to "put on charity." Although I'm still not sure what that means, I love this idea. To wear charity. With Love, Sandra Rose Longo- Founder of Navy Street Charity.