Valentina Gennarelli, of Stow, OH, uses her walker daily at Echo Hills Elementary. On Tuesday, it vanished as she was preparing to board the school bus. Gennarelli has Cerebral Palsy and uses a walker and wheelchair. Her mother posted on Facebook, hoping someone would see it and return the walker. She thinks it was mistaken for scrap by someone.
The Stow-Munroe Falls School District also posted the news on Facebook. Soon after, the news went viral, with over 1,000 individuals sharing the article. Many people offered to contribute toward the purchase of a new walker. Miller’s Medical Supply became aware of the event. It just so happened that one identical walker was available. Jessica Nicolard, manager of Akron Rehab, recognized the need to help and gave Valentina a new walker.
I have Cerebral Palsy. I rely on mobility equipment to help me get around, just like Valentina. While I am grateful that she has received a new walker, it is heartbreaking that someone would steal mobility equipment. Without my walker, I would be stuck in bed all of the time. I can’t imagine how I would feel if my walker was stolen.
My walker represents independence. I use it every day. I also have a power wheelchair. Both pieces of equipment are vital to my quality of life. If I didn’t have my equipment, I’d be stuck in bed, unable to leave the house. If I needed to go to another room, I would have to rely on somebody to carry me.
I was 13 when I received my first power wheelchair. At the time, I thought using a wheelchair meant I was a failure. I had no idea how much freedom a wheelchair would give me. My wheelchair allows me to enjoy activities more. Trips to the mall are much more enjoyable for me with my chair.
For people with Cerebral Palsy and other physical disabilities, mobility aids are often a lifeline. I wish that non-disabled people understood how necessary equipment is. It’s more than just medical equipment. It allows us to live our lives and be a part of our society.
Unger, Jordan. “’Renews My Faith in Humanity’: Girl Gets New, Donated Walker after Hers Was Taken.” Fox 8 Cleveland, Nexstar Media Group, , 10 Nov. 2022, https://fox8.com/news/renews-my-faith-in-humanity-girl-gets-new-donated-walker-after-hers-was-taken/?fbclid=IwAR2b60T1o0GRx-tO50vCVOmIr8KJgPXA77TV3KUX9_FfXjd7vMmAVNludyY.