Sunday, December 17, 2000

Readers make wishes come true

Scooter brings mobility and freedom

By John Johnston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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        It didn't take Linda Six long to put her gift from the Wish List to good use.

        The 57-year-old College Hill woman, who suffers from a lung disease that takes her breath away after just a few steps, received a motorized scooter a week ago Saturday. On Sunday, “I went to the church next door. They had a Christmas concert. It was glorious.”

        She's talking about the music, but she could just as easily be describing the independence her scooter brings.

[photo] A donated scooter helps Linda Six get around after a man who had it in his basement read about her in the Enquirer's Wish List.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        “I am just thrilled to have it,” she said. “And I'm grateful.”

        The annual Wish List project for the needy is sponsored by the Enquirer and administered by United Way. After wishes are granted to those profiled in the newspaper, money remaining is distributed to participating social-service agencies so other disadvantaged people can benefit.

        So far, $69,064 has been received from 904 donors. At the same point last year, 848 people had donated $59,827.

        Fairfield resident Paul Belanger read about Ms. Six and donated the 3-year-old motorized scooter stored in his basement. Mr. Belanger, a paraplegic, had used it until he bought a power wheelchair a year ago.

        The scooter has quickly made a difference for Ms. Six, who no longer must depend on family and friends for simple tasks such as taking out the trash or doing laundry. “Before, I was waiting two to three days to get my mail. Now I go every day,” she said.

        A retirement home is across the street. “First of the year, I plan to go over there and help senior citizens to learn computers. I'm looking forward to that.”

        Updates on other wishes:

        • Eight-year-old Reneka Minter, who is diabetic, has received “an outpouring of support,” said Julie Theodore, assistant director of FamiliesForward, a family resource center.

        The West End girl will soon be able to store emergency snacks in a small refrigerator in her second-grade classroom. Dr. Maria Rojeski, who is donating the refrigerator, also will explain diabetes to Reneka's classmates and teachers. The West End girl has been teased by children who don't understand her regimen of blood tests, diet and insulin injection.

        About 30 people — nurses, doctors, people with diabetes, parents of children with diabetes — offered to speak at Reneka's school. FamiliesForward is compiling the names. “We're now trying to identify other kids with diabetes in Cincinnati Public Schools who could benefit from having this educational presentation,” Ms. Theodore said. “It's a real nice service we can now have available.”

        • James Ford, who lost both legs in a hit-and-run accident and has other health problems, on Friday received a motorized wheelchair that will enable the 56-year-old Newport man to be less dependent on his wife and five children. The wheelchair, which is about a year old and in excellent condition, was donated by a person who wishes to remain anonymous, said Sandy Zentmeyer, community relations manager for New Perceptions, a social service agency.

        • Some of Elaine Lenzy's former co-workers at Ford Motor Co. read about her struggles to get her wash to a Laundromat. The 72-year-old Evanston woman worked on an assembly line until retiring 10 years ago. Ford employees Linda Allen, Dorothy Hall and Betty McKinney led a collection drive that will pay for a new washer and dryer.

Read about other wishes; make a donation


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