Sandra Finney fears she’ll soon be trapped inside her own apartment.
The Truro woman, who lost her left arm and leg in an accident when she was a teen, relies on an electric wheelchair to get around. However, after six years, the wear and tear on her chair has left Finney in need of a replacement that she simply can’t afford on her own.
“It’s a need, not a want,” she said, as a tear ran down her cheek. “It’s not like I can hop to the store.
“I use it every season to get to stores and doctor appointments. It’s my mobility. It’s my lifeline. I’m at a scared point now; I don’t want to be trapped.”
Finney, who lives on her Canada Pension, said a new electric wheelchair costs about $10,000. She said Easter Seals helped in the past, but can no longer provide aid because she’s not on social assistance. She’s contacted several other organizations but hasn’t had much luck, although the Rotary Club of Truro recently told her they would contribute $1,000.
“I’ve had repairs done in the past but the remote is going now, and it’s the brains,” she said. “It would cost about $1,150 to repair and then something else could go. I can’t afford to keep up. I’m forever tightening parts and I’m afraid it’s going to come apart when I’m out.”
Finney has set up a GoFundMe campaign called ‘I Need Your Help, A New Chair! (OFFICIAL)’ which did well until Christmas, but has received few donations since. A donation bottle has also been placed at MacQuarries Pharmasave on Esplanade.
“I find people who don’t have much are often trying the most to help,” said Finney. “I really appreciate what people have done but I need to raise more money and I’m running out of ideas.”
Finney was 14 years old when she was walking in Truro and came across a freight train blocking her path. She climbed onto the train in an effort to get to the other side when there was a sudden jerk, resulting in a fall. The train was shunting and as it moved, it took off her left arm and mangled her left leg.
“I can’t remember what happened right after I fell,” she said. “I was in the hospital quite a while and my leg was so badly damaged it had to be removed too.
“The bionic woman was a big thing then, so I thought they should be able to fix me. I had an artificial arm and leg for a while, but they weren’t comfortable, and I couldn’t do much with the hand. I fell once and was injured by the artificial leg.”
Finney went back to school for a while but didn’t stay long because of the way she was treated by other children.
“I have a great family and they got me through it all. They made me strong.”
She applied for several jobs but feels she was usually not hired because she was in a wheelchair. She did work in customer service at Atlantic Call Centre while it was in Truro – a job she loved. .
Finney has faced other health issues over the years, suffering a broken neck in a car accident and having heart and brain surgery because of aneurysms. She’s also been struck by cars twice at intersections in Truro, although she wasn’t injured. Through it all, she tries to focus on the positive.
“I’m so grateful that I’m alive; I could have so easily died,” she said.
“I’m a people person. I like to get out and meet, and talk to, other people. I try to cheer people up. Everybody’s got their own issues.
“I just want to be able to get by and to do that I need a chair I can rely on. I just need some help.”