For as long as Russell can remember, he’s been asking for doors. Not just any doors, but special electronic doors that allow people who use wheelchairs to enter and exit with the push of a button.
Russell has consistently advocated for these doors for a number of years, for himself and everyone else who lives in his house and uses wheelchairs, said Nancy Vito, Mosaic’s director of programs. “It’s not just a convenience factor, but is a safety factor. Without electronic doors, people like Russell cannot stay home alone.”
Jason Tighe, the manager of the home where Russell lives, described his understanding of the situation:
“Think of how you would feel if you had to get dressed and loaded into a van every time someone in your home has an appointment. Russell has logged in a lot of time sitting in a van – hours that he would prefer to use relaxing in his own living room, playing his video games.”
It wasn’t until a special anonymous donor stepped up and specifically chose to fund the electronic doors and other essential adaptive equipment that Russell’s greatest wish could finally be fulfilled.
Executive Director Andrea Ferrucci was so excited to share the good news with Russell and his housemates that she quickly arranged a little party. Staff decorated the soon to be modified doorways with crepe paper and balloons and gathered together to spring the surprise when Russell and the others arrived home from their day programs.
At first, Russell was overcome with emotion. Then he let everyone know exactly how he was feeling: “This is the best gift anyone could ever give me! I have been waiting a long time for this. For me and for everyone here.”
“We’ve all been waiting for this day, for a long, long time!” exclaimed Malinda Santiago, Area Coordinator. She knows that Mosaic typically uses donations on the most immediate needs that benefit the greatest number of people across the state. “We always need things like eyeglasses, dentures, walkers and therapies, for example.”
At the same time, during this season of good tidings, Mosaic learned that the Harold and Rebecca Gross Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee awarded a grant that will help purchase medical supplies and electronic doors for another residence. Now two Mosaic homes in Connecticut will be able to provide more independence for people receiving residential services, many of whom use wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment.
Russell summed it all up: “Never give up asking for what you want most in life. You made my dream come true.”
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