Lynne moved to Cape Cod for a position at an organization that serves adult clients unable to care for themselves due to physical or mental health concerns. Her son joined her after graduating with a teaching certificate, hoping for a teaching position in a local school system. As a student her son had struggled with dyspraxia—central processing movement issues—but with hard work, graduated with honors from a state university five years ago. Sadly, he was unable to find any job in education on the Cape so has been working in retail.
After Lynne had worked for several years, she fell on a patch of ice during the winter of “snowpocalypse”, as she calls it, that left her permanently disabled from a torn shoulder and a fractured elbow. She was able to continue work with some accommodation and light duty designation, but that soon ended. She was let go and told “we have no light duty job for you.” Her world, like her elbow, was shattered. She was even more grateful that her son was here with her.
Her son also had a fall at work, but thankfully it only put him out of work briefly. They were struggling financially. To further complicate their lives, Lynne was diagnosed with a progressive neurological disease that will eventually cripple her. She said, “I had tried to keep on cooking but had run out of avenues. I was refused disability insurance at first but was finally awarded $800 a month. My focus has been to keep my son’s heart and soul together. He was so disappointed not to be a teacher.”
Lynne approached social service agencies on the Cape with no luck. One agency representative suggested she should go back where she moved from. “I was horrified that they actually said that. I came to the Cape, as a contributor in a helping field, and then fell on a difficult time,” she said.
She didn’t think there was any hope left for her son and her, then she found Lower Cape Outreach Council a year ago. Her electricity was about to be shut off and they have since helped with both electric and gas bills. “They have been wonderful, and I am unbelievably grateful. In addition, they have been so kind. The first time I called the Council I was crying. I was met with so much understanding it helped me to stay a bit positive, “ she said. Lynne is optimistic by nature and was raised not to rely on welfare and food stamps, so it was very difficult to ask for help. She has since been put on a waitlist for subsidized housing and hopes that will happen soon.
“Lower Cape Outreach Council help has let me breathe again.” she said. She added,” Once I provided care for handicapped people and now I am handicapped. Their support has let me focus on the person I was and not who I will be in the future as my disease progresses”