My lifelong friend, is well known throughout the community for helping others.
But right now . . . he needs our help.
Barry Elbasani is a doer, a leader, a go-getter and he always has been. That was not changed by his spinal cord injury in 2002, then 28 years old. With no use of his legs and limited use of his arms, Barry is driven to make a difference in the world.
Shortly after his rehabilitation he founded the not-for-profit foundation, Focus on Independence, whose mission was to deliver Lasik eye surgery free of charge to people who had lost the use of their arms from an injury or illness. To date over 100 people have benefited from the program. Barry later earned a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Administration and began his career with the State of Missouri where his calling to inspire and help others to strive to reach their independent living potential has become his profession. Personally, Barry models independent living; he purchased his own home and lives independently with the assistance of his caregivers, family and adaptive technology. Barry's active lifestyle is primarily achieved through the use of his chair and his van, fully customized for him to drive.
14 years in service, his chair and van are due for replacement. Having logged over 102,000 miles over that time frame, all of the modifying equipment is out of warranty. Just recently, a computer issue caused the braking system to momentarily fail while on the road. Due to the changes in Barry's body over the past decade and his set positioning in the van, driving is now causing pain in his shoulders and arms. A new vehicle is an urgent priority!
There are many details that have been set in motion, which Barry is managing, to select, purchase, modify, and acquire the training to use this new vehicle before year-end. The significant funding to pay for the modifications to the vehicle, the new chair, and the training to transition to the new vehicle have all been approved. However, the actual purchase of the conversion ready vehicle is totally Barry's financial responsibility. The cost of this van will run between $32,000 - 40,000. My wish is that this fundraiser would totally cover the cost for him, but I humbly ask on his behalf, for whatever we all can scrape together to show him we've got his back on this one.
I thank you for your generosity. God Bless you all!
PS: I mentioned that Barry and I have been lifelong friends. In the photo gallery there are two pictures of us; one at age 5 and the other a couple years back at his 40th Birthday Bash. Thinking back on all the memories we have made over those years, Michael W. Smith's song "Friends" often comes to mind. Sing it with me . . .
---And friends are friends forever . . . If the Lord's the Lord of them
--------And a friend will not say "Never" . . . Cause the welcome will not end
-------------In the Father's hands we know . . . That a lifetime's not too long
-------------------------------------------To live as friends