Chronically Ill and Displaced by Hurricane Sandy

When I ask people in my Cleveland suburb if they know that many people are still homeless or unable to access their homes due to Hurricane Sandy’s damage, they are shocked.  I say to them, “It’s on the news, everyday”, and they say they either don’t watch the news or pay that much attention.

During the holiday season when you are caught up in the stress of buying gifts, and the holiday party fun, when you are home with your family cozy and watching Christmas specials and baking cookies, it’s hard to imagine that many families and individuals will be having their Christmas dinner at churches, high schools or restaurants generous enough to donate free meals.  They don’t have a home to open Christmas presents in.

I’m not saying this facetiously or trying to make you feel badly or guilty.  I think if I wasn’t from New Jersey and seeing the posts on Facebook from my family and friends about calls for donations or calls to volunteer, I probably would let Sandy slip my mind too.  When there is joy and celebration all around you, you don’t WANT to think about what is happening outside your little corner of the world.  I think this is just human nature.

Through Twitter I met a disabled, chronically ill man left homeless after Hurricane Sandy.  This is the story of John “JC” Colyer.

“I have a type of Ataxia called Cerebellar Ataxia.  It is a chronic disease that affects my balance, coordination and speech.  I have been on Social Security Disability since August 2010.  I worked for 14 years with “The B Street Band”, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band.  I fell and broke my left knee cap in January 2010 and that was it!

I have lived in Seaside Heights, NJ for 13 years and we took a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012.  I evacuated to a shelter on October 28th.  I spent 15 days in 3 different shelters.  The Red Cross and FEMA have been very helpful to me and I am grateful.  I now live in a FEMA funded hotel until I can go home, hopefully in three to six months.

It’s been traumatic; stress makes my Ataxia worse, but I try to keep positive and be supportive to others, especially to children.  I’m finding what I call my “new normal”.  It is still very shaky but I’m still trying!

I’ve adapted my life to my disability, I don’t try to fight it!  I can find things to complain about but I choose not to.”

The Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert was held last night (12-12-12).  If you would like to give to the relief fund, you can purchase donation gifts for your friends on Facebook, text $10 donations to 50555, or use check-ins to Foursquare or Get Glue.

Or you may donate through my original Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort post.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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One Response to Chronically Ill and Displaced by Hurricane Sandy

  1. JC is one of my personal heroes, I’ve known him since 2004 and am so thankful that a year later he is back home and as strong as ever. Thanks for sharing his story. He is such an inspiration. I will carry his quote below with me forever:

    “I’ve adapted my life to my disability, I don’t try to fight it! I can find things to complain about but I choose not to.”

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