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Nonprofit helping metro Detroiters with disabilities get the vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID

Posted at 11:25 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 23:28:55-04

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — With millions of people in Michigan suffering with mental and physical challenges day to day is difficult enough but who is looking out for them when it comes to Covid-19.

It's a difficult road to gain access to a vaccine if you don't have family or loved ones looking out for your best interest.

Something as simple as transportation or being hearing impaired can make it quite challenging to get a lifesaving vaccine.

But one local nonprofit has joined forces with an army of partners to make vaccine accessibility simple and easy for those who may end up losing their life without it.

Madison Ling and Liam Wolf grew up in drastically different worlds, but their physical and medical challenges delayed them both from getting the lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine.

“I had been on every wait list and calling places and I was getting nowhere,” said Liam Wolf.

Madison who attends Schoolcraft College in Livonia had troubles too. The 21-year-old hopes to one day be a doctor and faces physical challenges daily.

“I was born with a condition called Spina Bifida which is basically a neurogenic defect of the spinal cord,” explained Madison Ling.

It caused her to be paralyzed from the waist down. She gets around her college campus in her wheelchair and drives with specialized hand controls.

Liam was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome when he was only eight years old which grew into a chronic condition similar to multiple sclerosis as he got older. Unlike Madison he had no family to lean on.

Unable to get medical treatment without parental consent. Liam's health problems went untreated, and he became wheelchair bound.

Both Liam and Madison make up the millions of people with disabilities in Michigan who needed help securing a Covid 19 Vaccine.

“Research shows we're more likely to die, we're more likely to get very sick and we're less likely to get care,” said Dessa Cosma, Founder of Detroit Disability Power.

“When the state rolled out the vaccine plan, I noticed immediately that there was not adequate attention to 28% of Michiganders with disabilities,” added Cosma.

She linked Liam with the non-profit JARC which has been a residential provider for adults with disabilities for more than 50 years. They serve 200 people in 30 locations primarily in Oakland County.

“We needed to keep them safe and have good infection control protocols in place,” said ??

That means their residents and staff were all vaccinated and followed CDC guidelines beginning in February, but they wanted to do more.

“We can either stop because our direct people are taken care of or we can save others, we have to be a steward to the community,” said Shaindle Braunstein CEO of JARC.

That meant partnering with the Oakland County Health Department, A-Mac Pharmacy, The Max Fischer Building and countless others to meet the demand. So far, they have helped more than 2000 adults with disabilities. For Liam after trying since October JARC got him transportation to and from the vaccination site.

Madison heard about us through her physician who said they can help you and help they did.

“JARC was amazing, I called the same day received info from my doctor scheduled same day,” said Ling.

“Why are we on this planet what is our purpose in life, help others pay it forward,” said Braunstein.

When people with disabilities come to a JARC vaccination site whether it is transportation or they are hard of hearing or they simply need more time, it is all granted to them with kindness and a smile.