George Co. teen gets new electric wheels to move around - - The News for South Mississippi

George Co. teen gets new electric wheels to move around

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Christmas has come early for a disabled George County High teen. The quadriplegic-hearing impaired student needed an electric wheelchair, but couldn't afford one. Thanks to George Regional Health System Southeast Rehab, the teen now has the freedom to move.

Fifteen-year-old Heather Tanner and her mom, Mary, have a lot to smile about. The disabled teen recently got new custom-built power wheels. 

"She has cerebral palsy. The right side of her body is affected and she is not able to use her right side," Mary Tanner said. "For her to have the chair and be able to maneuver around on her own is amazing." 

Heather has had to be pushed around in an old, manual chair most of her life. 

"She had one that she would just use in a basic hospital. Earlier, we had one that was made just for her and she had outgrown it," Tanner said. "There is a period of time between chairs before you can order a new one through Medicaid, and she had not gotten to that point yet." 

George Regional Health System Southeast Rehab then stepped in and worked with Medicaid to speed up the process.

"My husband is the principal at the high school and he notice she had a sling-back wheelchair.  I got with him and the family and we decided to try out the power wheelchair. She sat in the power wheelchair and it was like freedom," Occupational Therapist Kellie Hughes said.

Heather has been putting these new electric wheels to work at school, home and around town.

"Last week, we took our first trip to Walmart. I didn't have to have someone with me to push her. She could go around beside me and stop and shop like a normal 15-year-old teen," Tanner said. 

Therapists at Southeast Rehab said they were just happy help.

"Just to see the joy on her face means the most to us. We all had tears in our eyes." 

Heather's custom-built wheelchair cost more than $15,000.

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