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Paratransit is a lifesaver for people with disabilities

Imagine if one morning you went out in your driveway and your car was gone. How would you get to work, the grocery store, the post office, the bank, your children’s school or to their activities? How would you get to church, the doctor’s office, the waterfront, the library, the gym, the park, the mall or a community event? What about your volunteer work, your board meeting or your public speaking engagements? The list goes on.

What if there was nothing you could do to get your car back – today, tomorrow or even six months from now? Would your life change? Would you feel isolated, frustrated? Could you keep your job? Would your mood change? Could you get things done?

This is how I felt after I worked hard to go from a high school dropout to Harvard; from a scared, single parent to International Parent of the Year; from wheelchair-bound to walking; from substandard housing to homeowner and, when things were finally rolling in my new career path as an author, when, as I pushed myself to finish mowing my property, in spite of having a headache, I suddenly had a stroke and lost my vision. Doctors were able to eventually restore at least half of my sight in one eye but I lost all in the other.

So, think of all I lost just by losing the ability to drive. Imagine my relief, my joy, my ability to rejoin my life as it was (with accommodation and adaptation) because of the NFTA Paratransit service. It certainly is not like having your own car, but it enables me (and others) to live life and be independent and continue to do all the things listed above. I will always be eternally grateful for this invaluable service, with its friendly and professional drivers. I have so much to give, and that’s exactly what Paratransit allows me to do. Disability is not inability.

Laura Wright

Amherst