Natalie & Elijah
My name is Natalie, and I am a single mother. The past year has been pretty tough for me and my son. I don’t know how we would have gotten through it without NAC’s help.
My son Elijah was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was 4 years old; he was using a wheelchair full time by the time he was 10. At the time, things weren’t easy for my family. I wasn’t in a good living situation. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t understand Duchenne’s, and most of all, I didn’t understand why this was happening to my son. I was scared. And Elijah was scared. We didn’t know what to expect or how to deal with any of this. NAC came along at just the right time. When I wasn’t getting the services I needed from other agencies, my NAC social worker went above and beyond – she helped us to learn about Duchenne’s and mentally cope with Elijah’s diagnosis; she helped us move into an accessible apartment of our own; and most of all she gave me the support I needed to care for Elijah at home.
For the first time in a long time, things were looking up. Then COVID hit. I work for a school and I rely on my overtime to make ends meet. Without being able to go into work, I quickly fell behind on all of my bills and I couldn’t afford to buy Elijah his medical supplies. I care for Elijah alone. Without me, he has no one to take care of him. So when his older sister’s mother passed away from COVID, Elijah became really afraid. He wouldn’t leave the apartment and he didn’t want me to either. At the same time, Elijah was in increasing pain and needed surgery on his ankles and knees. We couldn’t put it off much longer.
Luckily once again NAC was there for me and Elijah. They helped me pay my bills and paid for whatever Elijah needed; they delivered food and cleaning supplies to my apartment when Elijah was most afraid to go outside. Our therapy continued virtually and Elijah was set up for remote learning. Our social worker, therapists and so many others at NAC checked in often to make sure we had everything we needed, including emotional support. Elijah had his surgery in February and is doing much better now. It was a challenging time, and still is. But with NAC’s help we are getting through it.
Now, I am looking forward to having hope again for Elijah, for him to be able to be a 15 year old kid again without worrying about COVID or how we are going to pay the rent.