Beth and Elaine
Beth first learned about Northwest Access Fund when she was researching funding options for an all-terrain wheelchair, the GRIT Freedom Chair. The coronavirus lockdowns were preventing her from getting out and exercising, and her muscles were weakening. She had already applied for one grant and was in the process of applying for another, but she had trouble obtaining the required medical documentation. Her family knew that the grants were a longshot, in any case, given the limited funds available. In the meantime, Beth missed being able to go on trails with her dogs and she was struggling to engage with her community. Getting the wheelchair as soon as possible was a priority.
Beth’s parents considered using their savings to finance the wheelchair, but they were also dealing with the costs of renovating their home and property, purchasing medical equipment, and paying for medical care for both Beth and her father, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall. “We were really pushed to the limits financially,” Beth’s mother, Elaine, recounts. She recalls asking herself, “what am I going to have to do without in order to pay for the chair?” Faced with these constraints, obtaining a loan from Northwest Access Fund quickly became “the most viable option.”
Beth applied for the loan herself, was approved, and now she’s making payments and building her credit. Beth loves the wheelchair and using it regularly has helped her become stronger. Every night, she and her mother take the chair to their local park and Beth walks her dogs for a while before riding the wheelchair around the park for a few more laps.
After Beth successfully received a loan from Northwest Access Fund for her GRIT Freedom Chair, Elaine applied for a loan to make accessibility renovations to their property. “Now that Beth is getting stronger, she’ll be able to do more of her artwork again,” Elaine says. The family is leveling the property and pouring concrete around their two outbuildings, a studio and garden house where both Beth and her father make much of their artwork. There’s a canopy off of the studio where Beth sands driftwood and a garden house where she works on mosaics. One day, the family hopes that Beth can do business out of the outbuildings, too. Elaine says of her daughter, “she’s a very good artist, she has a unique perspective. And it brings a big quality to her life that she’s able to do this. It makes life all about that, rather than about the things that can be very difficult.”