One day, we at Mississippi Heroes got a call from a local businessman who had hosted one of our Caregiver Hero reveals. A man named Richard Hogan approached him at Pass Christian Harbor asking for help in his search for a used wheelchair-capable van. Richard’s wife, Fay, was in intensive care because she suddenly had become paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Tests had revealed that she was suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an illness where the immune system systematically and aggressively attacks all healthy nerve cells. Not only had their life changed in an instant, because Fay was now wheelchair-bound, but Richard also realized that he had no way to get her into the home, as they lived in a cottage with stairs that were four feet in elevation from ground level.
Richard was able to bring Fay home, but he had to enlist the local fire department’s help to get her into the house. Fay now faced a daunting challenge, as she could no longer navigate the steps that led to her front door. A ramp was imperative.
As Fay was now reliant on a wheelchair, she realized that she could no longer leave the house to accompany Richard on their regular car rides or fishing trips. However, despite these obstacles and a grim diagnosis, Fay emerged from the hospital with a renewed sense of hope and determination, fueled by Richard’s love and the generosity of friends and neighbors, who provided wheelchairs and other accessories to help ease her transition. Fay’s Faith in the Lord grew stronger.
GETTING TO WORK
When we at Mississippi Heroes heard this story and were offered a donation by the businessman, Vic Dehon, we knew we had to help. We rushed to find a local contractor who could build a ramp that met Fay’s requirements; work soon began.
Soon, the rhythmic sounds of hammering and sawing filled the air, and in a few weeks Fay’s wheelchair ramp took shape, transforming uncertainty into hope and her home into a place of freedom once again.
Finally, the day came when the ramp was completed. With her friends’ help, Fay slowly made her way up, feeling the gentle slope beneath her wheels. As she reached the top and looked back at the crowd of smiling faces, a sense of gratitude washed over her.
The ramp had not just provided Fay with physical access to her home; it also had rekindled her faith in people’s kindness and compassion. She was no longer confined to her house; she could now venture out into the world, confident that her community always would be behind her.
Fay’s story became a symbol of the strength of human connections and the power of a community united in the face of adversity. As she rolled down her new ramp, Fay knew that she was not alone.
HOW TO HELP
Mississippi Heroes is a nonprofit committed to celebrating everyday caregivers, which requires a significant amount of outside help. We are always in need of volunteers, material donations, monetary donations and general support from the community via sharing our mission and finding those who need the assistance.
We have a Bacon Bit Pig Race coming up Nov. 11 at Centennial Plaza, and a donation of $5 or $20 will help us build more ramps. So, please sponsor a pig or two today for your chance to win $500! See www.MississippiHeroes.org or www.facebook.com/MississippiHeroes/ for details. Also feel free to contact us at MississippiHeroes@gmail.com or (228) 234-4649.
We hope to continue our program and help everyone we can as the need is great. Our future plans are to build reusable ramps so we can move them based on need, thereby maximizing our resources and community support. Together, we are building a better community for all.
Katherine Sutton is the executive director and founder of Mississippi Heroes. Reach her at (228) 234-4649 or MississippiHeroes@gmail.com.