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When Hurricane Sandy struck on October 29, 2012, Liz Treston and her service dog, Finn, watched from her bedroom window as seawater, sand and sewage rushed into her Long Beach, N.Y., home. In the street, Liz’s van and its contents were ruined.Insurance covered a new van and basic repairs to her home, but did not replace the manual wheelchair Liz kept in the van. With only a power chair, Liz was unable to visit friends and family whose homes had even a couple of steps. Most of all Liz, who has a spinal cord injury, lost her independence. She is one of many Sandy survivors with disabilities who, on top of negotiating with FEMA and insurance companies, also endured loneliness and isolation when their mobility equipment was destroyed by the hurricane.With funding from AmeriCares, Long Island Communities of Practice replaced Liz’s manual wheelchair. Liz was just one of 34 storm survivors with disabilities LICOP could help with wheelchairs, walkers, ramps and other assistive technology due to AmeriCares support.In all, AmeriCares has worked with 16 organizations that are helping Sandy survivors with physical disabilities or impairments—part of $3 million in Sandy recovery funding to date.
Liz still worries about other survivors. “I am involved with several disability advocacy groups and we’re finding there are still quite a number of people stranded inside their homes because of the hurricane damage,” says Liz, a retired speech pathologist who has used a wheelchair since an accident.“We are still here,” Liz says. “Please don’t forget us.” Read More Donate Now