Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Volunteers help make life easier for 19-year-old Texas amputee

by Steve Stoler / WFAA WFAA Posted on April 2, 2011 at 7:53 AM

GARLAND — Whitney Mitchell, a 19-year-old Berkner High School graduate whose arms and legs were amputated, will have a much easier time getting around her new home thanks to some of her kind and caring neighbors. Mitchell finally came home last week after spending months in the hospital and rehab. The amputations became necessary when Whitney suffered septic shock from an infection, stopping the flow of blood into her arms and legs. A viewer of KENS 5's sister station, WFAA News 8, was so touched by her plight and positive attitude, he rallied his troops to help. Mitchell's long-awaited return home suddenly turned into horror last Friday. A portable ramp suddenly tilted downward, spilling her out of the wheelchair and onto the ground. “My heart went up in my throat. It was just scary," said Patricia Kirven, Mitchell's mother. When Ed Seghers saw our story, he was moved by Mitchell's spirit. But one thing he heard made him feel he could help. Whitney’s mother explained that without wheelchair ramps, Whitney cannot go into her backyard. Seghers is a member of a volunteer group at the First United Methodist Church in Garland. They call themselves “God's Old Geezers.” The Geezers build wheelchair ramps. When they heard about Mitchell's struggles, they couldn't wait to help. “There’s not a much better feeling internally than to help people in need. And when you do that, you get a warm feeling inside," Seghers said. So on Friday, they sawed, leveled and sanded, building two ramps. Mitchell tried out her new ramp ever so carefully. She was very nervous after last week's fall. The Geezers call Mitchell an example of courage, faith and persistence; someone who serves as an inspiration to everyone. “It’s a good reminder that when we really get down in the dumps with our own troubles, we need to look around," said Clay Womack, the church pastor. Seghers said Mitchell's difficult challenges puts life in perspective for others. “When you have a little pain or ache and you see someone like Whitney, that pain or ache goes away immediately," he said.

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