Having known one person with a spinal cord injury before & after the accident and of course
knowing Shelly here are some thoughts:
1st- dealing with the shock of knowing a person that is healthy & active and being totally
blindsided by the accident is quite difficult. I think there is a guilt process of why them even if you were not with them
at the time of the accident. I knew Bob but didn't know him personally until years later. Once you are personally involved,
you realize while they adapt and can be independent, they are still dependent. We've helped Bob with large order grocery shopping.
Also, we would spend time at Penn State games with him. On one occasion we were taking him downtown. It's very easy getting
up & down the sidewalks if they have the cuts in them. Bob wanted to go past the football building. Unfortunately at the
end of the street there was no cut. Brian & I had to carefully maneuver the chair off the curb and then up the next. When
we returned home, I emailed Penn State only to inform them about the cut missing. I just mentioned that it was quite a struggle
even with 2 of us helping. The next day I had an email from the President's office stating that they had forwarded my email
to the maintenance dept and the problem would be resolved immediately. They were also going to inspect the campus for any
other problems. A few days later, I received a picture of the curb being repaired. We as healthy individuals do not realize
the inconveniences that the disabled are faced with on a daily basis. The experience made me much more aware.
As for meeting Shelly... She came highly recommended to be my son's reading tutor. We had been
informed that she was in a wheelchair due to an accident. Knowing Bob, we were able to see Shelly as an individual not as
someone with a disability. My son enjoys spending time with her although not necessarily reading.