Help AMJ Get a Wheelchair Lift!

For: Amanda Michelle Jones
Chicago, IL
Organizer: Amanda Michelle Jones
Help AMJ Get a Wheelchair Lift! (Amanda Michelle Jones)
of $3,305 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 104 donors

The Story

Hi! I'm Amanda Michelle, also known as AMJ (and @AmandaMichelle on Twitter). I need your help converting my SUV to carry my new powerchair. (Note: I left Facebook several years ago, so that's why this fundraiser isn't connected there.)

I am getting a powerchair and have to pay $383 for transportation tie-downs and a folding seatback so it'll fit in my vehicle. I also need to convert my SUV to carry the powerchair. The lift costs $3,300, including taxes and installation. My university has given me a $500 grant to cover part of the expenses but as a student, I don't have the funds or the credit to cover the rest. Your support is greatly appreciated! Want more info? Keep reading...
  • $3,300Bruno Curbsider VSL-6900 (see video in the gallery)
  • $383Transportation add-ons: Safety tie-downs for public transit + flip-down seat back to fit into my car. (See the order form for power positioning – screenshots are in the image gallery)
  • $122 – Estimated credit card fees to be deducted from fundraiser
  • -$500 – Emergency grant from my school



The Details:

I have been in a number of accidents over the past several years that have led to some permanent disabilities and chronic pain. As a result of those disabilities, I now need a powerchair to help me get around. (For those who don't know, I can't use a manual chair because my arm was hit by a truck back in 2012). I have been using a cheap mobility scooter I bought off Amazon a couple of years ago but that was very, VERY limited in what it could do. Plus, it just died a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, my powerchair was expedited and should be ready late March/early April!

As a PhD student, I need to be able to get around various locations, not just campus. This ranges from activities of daily living such as grocery shopping (I have to go in-person to use food stamps) to driving to some conferences to save money and protect my chair from destruction while flying. I'm already missing one conference this month because I can't get a 215lb chair into my truck (currently using a loaner about the same weight as my own will be). Having a wheelchair lift installed will prevent more of this from happening.

Can You Pursue Other Sources of Support Besides a Crowdfund?

Why yes; yes I can and I have! Here's what I've done so far (I have engaged a bit of snark because let's laugh at something, please):

  • There are legal cases pending, however those take YEARS to resolve. Unfortunately, I don't have years to wait around to take care of my health needs.
  • I am using my healthcare (private insurance through school supplemented by medicaid) but neither of those covers the wheelchair lift.
  • I have considered taking out a loan, but I do not have the credit or employment status to qualify for financing and repayment of a state or university loan would still be a problem since I'm a full-time PhD student in a program that restricts my work hours. Plus, gaining a new disability has made navigating day-today life a new challenge that I'm still sorting out.
  • My mother is the only family I'm close to. However, she recently gained a bunch of emergency home repair costs *just* as she is headed toward retirement. Also? She's a nurse. Y'all know nurses, teachers, & social workers don't get paid anything near what the actual value of our work.
  • I'm anemic, so selling off my blood supply isn't really gonna work for me.
  • I can't say from experience but I imagine it's pretty hard to be a sex worker when endometriosis makes your insides feel like any variable combination of sandpaper, flames, stabbing knives, and vice grips.
  • Egg donation? You'll definitely wanna revisit the bullet point above on that one.
  • Selling material goods. OMG, please do buy my things!
    • Sadly, I don't have anywhere near $3,000 worth of stuff to sell
  • My credit card is maxed out (yay, living and academic expenses!)
  • Surely there are resources at that big fancy school!
    • I have talked to my Dean of Students and she investigated the availability of some resources across the university to help with my health issues. As I mentioned above, I ultimately received a $500 emergency grant. This is certainly helpful, as it covers the deposit for the lift, plus a little toward the overall cost.

I think that about covers everything I've considered. So would you support my crowdfund?

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on May 4, 2016

Posted on May 4, 2016

#CHAIRLIFT4AMJ IS OVAAAAA!!! Though not necessarily for happy reasons, I guess...

I was supposed to be presenting at a conference in New Orleans next week. However, the organizers emailed me *at midnight* last night asking me to call today. That's when they told me I can't be a conference volunteer since I'm presenting because presenters have to register for the conference. This is a new thing for me because every conference I've attended (save one that was only $60 for students) has had a "Student Volunteer Registration" category that didn't exclude student presenters. Because students.

At any rate, my hotel bills amount to more than $211, so I'll be redirecting those funds.

THANK YOU again to everyone who has supported this fund with your dollars, retweets, facebook posts, and more. Despite my trip being cancelled, there is no way I could have paid for this lift without that support! The main part of the lift has been installed so we've just got to get a bracket mounted to my chair when it gets here in the next day or so.

Posted on April 30, 2016

Posted on April 30, 2016

BIG NEWS! I finally got things worked out re: my chair, so I'll be getting that *and* my lift NEXT WEEK!
  • My chair is due to arrive at National Seating & Mobility on Wednesday. They know they screwed up*, so they're working to make sure I get it swiftly.
  • MobilityWorks, the vendor for the wheelchair lift, is picking up my truck on Monday afternoon to start the installation process. They're gonna bring it back to me some time Tuesday, then pick up my chair Friday morning. I'll follow them back to their shop to complete the install.
MobilityWorks is collecting final payment on FRIDAY. What this means is that I now have to use my June rent money to cover whatever hasn't been raised by then. My rent is $921, including accessible parking, and does not include electricity or internet, so taking almost $600 out of that fund is really scary.

We can keep the crowdfund going for as long as is needed but you know borrowing from rent money is always dangerous. I have been –and still am– trying to delay other things as much as possible but, for example, I have to get my brakes fixed before I start my drive to New Orleans. I also desperately need some more intensive training for my service dog but I've been scouring the internet for help in the meantime. And lord knows I need to get back to my massage therapist to work the knots out of these injuries but I've sacrificed that, too.

So please, tell one, tell all & let's get this lift funded!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
*It turns out my insurance company NEVER REQUIRES PRE-AUTHORIZATION and they never told the vendor that they do. All my paperwork was completed in Feb, so I should have had my chair *last month*. To be fair, my insurance company also screwed up here, because they should have told the vendor this as soon as they got the request for pre-auth. According to one of the insurance reps, the company is woefully behind on all patient claims, so who knows what's happening with things like errant requests for pre-authorization?

Posted on April 27, 2016

Posted on April 27, 2016

Greetings, Chairlift4AMJ supporters (and lurkers)! As always, I want to thank everyone who's stuck it out with me through this campaign. Your RTs, donations, and facebook posts, and other sharing have been crucial to raising the funds we have!

Here's what's happening with my quest for independence...
  • My chairlift is in stock & waiting for me to set an installation appointment. Just waiting on my wheelchair... STILL.
  • Since last week, I have called my insurance company FOUR times to sort out what's happening. I've gotten different stories twice and variations on the second story the other two times.
  • It turns out, the instructions I was given (posted in the previous update) had nothing to do with my wheelchair, but were for the post-op dr appointment I'd recently had. ??
  • HOWEVER! Today I finally got a copy of a letter that explains that I NEVER NEEDED PRE-AUTHORIZATION/PRE-DETERMINATION/PRE-CERTIFICATION for my chair. This isn't even a thing that my insurance company does. ?????? The letter was generated last week and probably went out in the mail to a third party/intermediary yesterday. Or maybe today. Or maybe it'll go later in the week, who knows? So of course I emailed my copy to my vendor directly.
  • Back in March, the vendor said since I have really great secondary insurance, they would go on and build the chair ahead of the [phantom] authorization to make up for all the confusion caused by the prior sales rep I had, so I should have the chair in my possession ASAPtually.

That said, I leave for my conference in two weeks, so we're really getting down to the wire. With $677 left to go, it's looking like I'm going to have to dip into my rent money to get my lift in time for me to get fluid with using it. Of course I want to avoid doing this, so I'm hoping we can make one big push this week.

I will sign off with an acknowledgement to the man who enriched (or even caused *cough*) so many of our lives, Prince Rogers Nelson. I have no words to express my heartbreak, so I leave you with one of my favorite performances. When warned about the torrential rain, His Royal Badness asked, "Can you make it rain harder?"

I hope you're dancing with your love in all the rain you want. #RestInPurple, my dear Prince...
Prince at Superbowl 2007

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