MS sufferer seeks aid for one worse off

Vivian O’Connor shows how her wheelchair can tilt back, making both eating and breathing easier. - Neil Horner photoi
Vivian O’Connor shows how her wheelchair can tilt back, making both eating and breathing easier.
— image credit: Neil Horner photoi

All Vivian O’Connor wants for Christmas is to help Dean Jesperson get a tilt.

It may not seem like much, but she says it would make a world of difference to her friend.

O’Connor, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was touched by the plight of Jespersen, who she said is so badly affected by the disease that he is bent over often unable to either eat or breath properly.

“He went to Costa Rica to get the Liberation Therapy and my husband heard about it, so we went to see him,” she said. “We wanted to talk to him about it before I went there for my treatment.”

O’Connor’s treatment helped — at least to some degree — but Jespersen was not so fortunate and any benefits of the controversial treatment soon faded. Since O’Connor returned from her trip, the 50-year-old Jespersen was forced to move out of his home and into The Gardens in Qualicum Beach in order to access the care he needed.

O’Connor said Jesperson’s condition is so bad that when he gets tired his head sags to his knees when he’s sitting in his 29-year-old wheelchair.

“His condition is very progressive and very fast,” she said. “He thinks he will be bed-ridden in a year.”

O’Connor doesn’t think that has to happen and she’s determined to do what she can to prevent it.

“He needs a tilt to his chair in order to breath properly and to eat properly,” she said. “When he gets home and has been out, he puts two cushions on his bed and rests like that, in his chair.”

A tilting chair, she said, would enable him to eat and breath properly and make his situation at least more bearable.

“He breaks my heart,” she said. “My mother had MS and she didn’t get any help, but I have friends and family who help me. Everything is so expensive when you’ve got a disability.”

Noting that to purchase a proper tilting motorized wheelchair would cost between $8,000 and $15,000, money she knows he doesn’t have.

She’s hoping someone or some organization in the community will be able to either donate a tilting wheelchair or perhaps some money towards the purchase of one.

“I want him to be able to have mobility, to be able to breath and to keep him out of being bedridden,” she said. “If everyone in Parksville gave just 50 cents or a dollar, you would get the money — and it is Christmas ...”

Anyone who can help in any way is asked to give O’Connor a call at 250-248-2718.



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