This morning at 8:30, I called the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and asked if the Articles of Organization for Cecropia Strong, Inc. had been approved. The answer was, “Yes!” A new charity is born!
The idea of this charity isn’t new—I started collecting donations for gifts for Spaulding patients last July. That has grown monthly through now, and we’re donating between $120-$150 in gifts per month to the hospital. (These are donations at cost, so no profit is made.)
In February, Leah Terrill (the Child Life Specialist at SRH, whom I deliver to) told me she’d given the large teddy bears to the adult floors at Christmas, and she wanted one for the children! I realized those teddys were a hot commodity! So from now on, there’ll be two teddys in each load! (One for the children’s floor, and one for either the stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, or burn/amputee floors.)
Every Christmas my mom makes one of her paintings into a Christmas card for the family. This Christmas it was, “A Mother’s Love,” with polar bears. With her blessing, her printer ran enough blank cards for the patients at SRH to mail out for quite some time! Three batches of four cards and stamps will now accompany the stuffed critters!
The gifts to patients is a start, but it’s not the whole story. Cecropia Strong, Inc. will help the physically disabled find the fullest life possible. Delivering the critters, books, and cards to the newly disabled is part of the first of three steps in our mission. The second step, I’ve been working on for a couple of years! We will match disabled patients (or expert end users, if you will) with Boston colleges and universities that offer Assistive Technology services.
I participated in an Assistive Technology course at MIT in the fall of 2019 (as an Expert End User), and I immediately saw the benefit these classes had for the disabled! But there wasn’t a good way to reach the disabled populations and tell them about Assistive Technology, and what it could do for them. So Cecropia Strong, Inc. will tackle this! Our first goal is to offer such a service at Tufts, THIS SPRING! Tufts has a course in Assistive Tech (AT), but we’re working with the students and faculty to make a campus-wide AT hackathon, with an expert end user as beneficiary. We have to move quickly to make this happen, so buckle up!
Finally, the third step in our mission will be a biggie! We will foster the development of centers that provide care to the disabled at no cost, or minimal cost. Physical therapy (and occupational therapy, etc.) doesn’t have to be tied to health insurance, and offering it year round in an alternate form will get the much needed therapy to the disabled who can use it!
Hope is a key part of all of this! When you get whacked with a disabling illness, like a stroke, you come out of it so upside down. Your brain is in shock, and you’re grasping around. And those around you give you hope, until you can figure it out for yourself! As I was recovering in Spaulding, four years ago, I felt like the cecropia moth, emerging from my cocoon. I didn’t know what end was up! That was the first word. The second word was borrowed from Boston Strong, which was formed during the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. And so we have Cecropia Strong!