What our clients say
On July 26, 2017, my life changed forever. After three months of trying to find the cause of wrist and ankle pain, my precious 13-year-old daughter Kenzi was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We began a 28-month marathon journey treatment that there is no way to prepare for and experiences that are unimaginable until you are walking…or crawling… through them.
On July 27th, my daughter started the one month Induction treatment for ALL. The Induction period is designed to knock out the Leukemia cells in a 1-month treatment period. She was hit so hard, I wasn’t sure if she would live through that first month of treatment. At the end of August, she was tested to see if she was in remission, which Thank God, she was. But her body was decimated. And she had 27 more months of rigorous treatment to go. After yet another hospital admission to Bronson Children’s Hospital in September 2017, one nurse asked if I had heard of Lending Hands. That week, I visited Lending Hands for the first time to inquire about a wheelchair and was blown away by the ease with which I could borrow one for free! My family still was without my income and knowing that I could rent a wheelchair for free that was “unnecessary” for Kenzi’s physical health because she could walk slowly and with a walker as needed, but it was absolutely necessary.
But Lending Hands had the equipment I needed. Instead of a wheelchair that was bulky and heavy for me, I was given a transport chair that was in pristine condition. It was fairly lightweight and folded up nicely so I could put it in my trunk along with our luggage, food and medicines. So, my daughter and I packed up, and I drove her across the country to meet up with her classmates. (this needs a transition or explanation) We rested in the mornings and then joined her classmates for trip activities in the afternoons and evenings. Kenzi rode in her transport chair around the Capitol Building (even through the tunnels beneath the streets), the Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall, the Holocaust Museum, the National Air & Space Museum, the Pentagon 911 Memorial, Mount Vernon, Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, the Jefferson Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the FDR Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and the Lincoln Memorial. Kenzi was able to go on and participate on this trip, in life, because of Lending Hands and the transport chair.
After this trip to New York, we didn’t “need” the transport chair for any upcoming plans or trips. But I was still uneasy. The once-a-month Maintenance treatments were supposed to be easy. And, yes, they were easier, but certainly not “easy.” I wasn’t sure if we would need the transport chair or not, so I asked Lending Hands if I could keep the chair a little while longer. With the grace and compassion that I so desperately needed during this experience, the Director of Lending Hands, Lucinda Stinson, offered and approved me keeping the transport chair until Kenzi was done with treatment. And I breathed a sigh of relief. I had it if we needed it. One more thing, financial and otherwise, to remove from my very, very long list of worries.
On Monday, January 13, 2020, I entered Lending Hands to return the transport chair. But it was with mixed emotions, that I returned it. This chair had allowed for participation in life for my daughter and me at a time when I didn’t know how much life she had left. It allowed for hope. It allowed for distraction and cool experiences. The chair had become a symbol of ability and life when we did not have it. But the time had come for me to let the chair go. I had been holding onto the chair “just in case” for a very long time. It was time to let it go and to live in a way that was not constantly preparing for crisis. It was time to breathe and enjoy each day as it comes. It is now a time for intentional transformation.
I can never thank Lending Hands for not only giving us transportation, but giving us grace, compassion and kindness each time I walked through the doors. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
– Kristi Zimmerman, Kenzi’s Mom