2014 Winner - Marisa Laios

Marisa Laios is a young woman living with cerebral palsy who is determined to take part in community life as independently as possible. She uses a power wheelchair to navigate her home and community and, with the help of a care companion, is able to successfully tend to activities of daily living.

Like many people her age, Marisa loves going to the beach and enjoys it even more when she is able to sit in the sand, like her peers. However, due to her mobility limitations, Marisa often encounters many barriers when trying to access recreational and social activities that her friends and peers take for granted. Going to the beach – and transferring to the sand – is an example of one such activity that Marisa has challenges accessing, made all the more frustrating by the fact that she loves it so much.

When Marisa contacted The Eric Fund to request an adaptive beach chair that would allow her to sit upright and be supported in the sand, she had already been denied funding by a variety of different sources on the grounds that it wasn’t “medically necessary.” While perhaps it is not, the beach chair is just the sort of adaptive device that The Eric Fund loves to provide to enable Marisa to access – and fully experience – going to the beach. In turn, this will enable Marisa to more thoroughly interact with her friends and enjoy the types of experiences that are essential to a good quality of life. Bring on the sand!