Posts in 2003
Muffi Lavigne
Muffi Lavigne.png

Thanks to The Eric Fund, Rockville, Maryland, resident Margaret “Muffi” Lavigne  will get the equipment she needs to help her take photographs for her graduate school portfolio as well as help her with everyday needs in her apartment.  

Muffi is applying to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne’s Master in Architecture program for Fall 2004, to study interior design.  Part of her application includes an artistic portfolio, in which she wanted to feature her photography. Muffi has been an avid photographer, but her disability – Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle disease affecting her arms, legs and hips – has progressed to the point where she is no longer able to hold a camera on her own. She uses a power wheelchair and has service dog, “Rudy.”  In addition, Muffi requires a personal care attendant, physical therapists and many other services to help her lead an independent life. The costs of these services, despite her working full time, leave little for her to purchase the necessary equipment for her to further her education and career goals. 

The Eric Fund is providing Muffi with a clamp and swing arm to help secure her camera for picture taking and allow her to complete her portfolio for her Master’s program application.  She is also receiving a wall switch extender and a lamp converter to help her reach for switches and lamps in her home. Muffi has been working for many years as the Information and Referral Coordinator at United Cerebral Palsy’s national headquarters in Washington, DC, where our Fund’s namesake, Eric Savader, once worked.

2003Nate Nashawardee
Katie Marie Shaw
Katie Marie Shaw.jpg

"I'm thrilled!" said Barbara Shaw when she first learned that The Eric Fund would be funding a Lightwriter for her 20-year-old daughter Katie Marie. "Katie will be too!"

Katie Marie, who is developmentally delayed with a severe expressive language disorder, is in her final year of a transition program at Howard Community College in Maryland. She has mastered the art of communicating with a Lightwriter SL87, which she has been able to use on loan through the school program. However, since it is school property, Katie Marie would not have access to this crucial piece of augmentative communication once she leaves the school system in the spring.

Katie relies on the Lightwriter to communicate her needs and express her feelings when she is conducting her day-to-day activities outside the home. Her mom is able to interpret the sign language that she uses at home, but says that Katie Marie rarely communicates via sign language outside the home.  When she is interacting with people who are unfamiliar with her disability, or engaged in such basic functions as ordering food at a restaurant, asking for directions, or requesting help if she is sick, Katie relies solely on the assistance of the Lightwriter to do her "talking" for her. Her mother explained that the ease-of-use of the Lightwriter continues to improve too. "It's gotten so much smaller and lighter since Katie Marie began using it," her mother said, "it's no longer the big bulky piece of equipment that it use to be."

Katie Marie is also very ambitious. Her part-time job at Pizza Hut allows her to earn extra money, but not enough to be able to afford expensive assistive technology. She is thrilled that The Eric Fund will help her to achieve this goal, so that she may be able to live, work and play independently after she graduates from community college.

2003Nate Nashawardee
Austin Ruby
Austin Ruby.png

Three-year-old Austin Ruby will be ramping up to get around in his community with a wheelchair ramp provided to him by The Eric Fund. 

Austin, who has a severely involved disability due to a brain hemorrhage at birth that limits his motor skills and causes him to be fed through a feeding tube, attends Fairfax Villa elementary three mornings a week where he receives physical, visual and speech therapy and companionship from his school friends.  The Eric Fund is please to grant Austin and his parents, Jennifer and Keith, the funds to purchase a wheelchair ramp for their minivan and the tie downs and floor tracking to secure Austin’s wheelchair inside the vehicle. The van accommodations while vital, were impossible for the Rubys to afford on their single income while supporting a family of four. 

This assistive device will ensure that Austin can continue his journeys out into the larger world and will help him be a part of rather than apart from the community as he grows.

2003Nate Nashawardee