Gulfport Family Needs Wheelchair

A Gulfport mother is getting frustrated in her efforts to get her son a new wheelchair. Mildred Deal says Medicaid won't pay for it since her son is over the age of 21, and the family can't afford another chair without some help.

You see, her son has cerebral palsy and needs a special kind of wheelchair that costs several thousand dollars.

The mother says if she can find one, a good used wheelchair would be just fine.

"Otis will soon be 25 years old. And he has to have a special made wheelchair. Medicaid says he's too old. Once they reach 21 years old, they don't pay for a chair for him. And I don't have anywhere else to turn."

Mildred Deal is getting frustrated.  Her son Otis has simply outgrown his five year old wheelchair. It's uncomfortable and at times, unsafe.

"I have to have this pillow up under here to keep his head stable. If I don't have this pillow under here, this is how it would fit. And if I turn him loose, his head would be up against this metal."

The aging wheelchair is also taking away Otis's limited freedom. He loves being outdoors, but his mother hasn't taken him outside in a year. The wheelchair simply can't handle it.

"Very frustrating. Because he can't even go outside. He likes to go to the park. We can't even take him to the park, can't even push him down the street," Deal said.

If Otis were a child, Medicaid would upgrade the chair. But since he's over 21, his mother is finding dead ends in her hunt for help.

"I've called United Cerebral Palsy, and they can't help. United Way, they can't help. No one can seem to help me. Easter Seals can't help. I've called everybody I can think of that they've told me to call. And I just haven't' gotten any help."

She called WLOX in desperation, hoping someone can help find her son a better chair.

If you can help the family find a suitable replacement wheelchair, you can call Mildred Deal in Gulfport at (228) 867-6221.