According to the Center for Disease Control, (CDC) in 2013, more than 75 million Americans aged 18 or older suffered from some sort of physical mobility impairment, and those numbers are only expected to rise due to aging populations, chronic health conditions and growing barriers to quality health care.
Many disabled individuals value fitness and health and enjoy competing in sporting events, leagues or a game of backyard tag football. Unfortunately, the costs of customized fitness equipment and mobility aids are explosive and because of that, fitness often takes a seat on the bench. Some prosthetic attachments (which must be replaced every few years) can cost upwards of $50,000 and may not be covered by insurance.
The same high costs hold true for specialized mobility equipment like stand-aids, customized wheelchairs and modified auto transportation. In addition, pharmaceutical costs and rising cost of living expenses make it nearly impossible for disabled individuals to purchase mobility aids without severe financial impacts.
With nearly 15% of the world’s population diagnosed with a physical disability, it’s a good chance you or someone you know experiences emotional and financial challenges because of it. Some of life’s most basic tasks can present huge challenges for mobility-impaired individuals.
When Mark was diagnosed with AMN, he was unsure how much his life would be affected, but refused to let AMN dictate what he wanted to do. During the latter part of his life, Mark competed in several BAA 10K races in the wheelchair division and local half-marathons to support AMN research.
Following his diagnosis, Mark continued to practice more traditional ways of life, but ALD/AMN is a progressive disease and most tasks became challenging. While he considered himself lucky to have a supportive family, friends and community, he understood not all are blessed with such fortune.
Mark’s family understands the financial challenges and emotional burdens being denied for critical equipment can have on individuals with physical limitations. Mark’s family and care team grew tired of hearing the word “no,” and through relentless research and persistent advocacy, sourced a better insurance program that provided the equipment he needed, but at no cost to the family.
We proudly assist individuals with disabilities with research support to locate, apply for and acquire specialized equipment they need to participate in recreational sports and lead more independent lives. Advocacy and outreach services are available to Massachusetts residents with preference to patients that are suffering from neurological disorders, but we try to assist as many people as possible.
Excel through Academics
Mark Schmorrow Memorial Scholarship
Before Mark’s disease progressed, he enrolled in college with the intention of completing his Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resources. Unfortunately, his disease progressed rapidly and he developed problems with sight, reading comprehension and memory loss, making it impossible for him to pursue his college education.
In Mark’s memory, we are pleased to offer the Mark Schmorrow Memorial Scholarship* ($1,500) to a graduating high school senior pursuing a career in Social Services or Human Resources. Preference is given to Ipswich High School and Gloucester High School candidates who are passionate about helping others and demonstrate commitments to community stewardship, volunteer work and academic achievement.
*Applications Accepted for Consideration Spring 2023