See Tommy’s Triumphant Walk!


Tommy, who has a developmental disability, relishes his independence. Until several years ago, he supported himself and lived in his own apartment. Unfortunately, that all changed when he had major back surgery.

While surgery can be hard on everyone, it was particularly difficult for Tommy. When he awoke, doctors shared the devastating news that Tommy would never walk again. This meant he would be unable to continue living in the apartment he loved; instead, he would be moved to a nursing home where he could get round-the-clock care.

While the staff at the nursing home were kind, Tommy was unhappy there. Understandably, he was depressed and angry at the world.

This didn’t change when he moved into one of AccessCNY’s houses in the Syracuse area. In fact, his depression wouldn’t lift until Tommy and his staff figured out Tommy was being over-medicated. When Tommy first moved to his new home with AccessCNY, he was on 36 different medications! Shocked at this oversight, AccessCNY staff assisted Tommy in advocating for a reduction of his medications. With his doctor’s approval, gradually Tommy weaned off all but the essential medications. This made a world of difference for Tommy; according to the staff working with him, this was when Tommy truly came alive! He became more engaged with those around him and had more energy to devote to his physical therapy at AccessCNY.

If those who know Tommy were surprised to see such a drastic change in him following his medication reduction, it was nothing compared to what happened early this year! One day, Tommy came into the living room and calmly announced to staff that he could walk again. Shocked by this sudden announcement, house manager Kristy grabbed a walker and challenged Tommy to prove it. It was true! Tommy could walk again! Several of the staff cried happy tears. Everyone was in disbelief.

According to house manager Kristy, this is the best moment in all her years working with individuals with disabilities. Watch below to see this special moment, then make a donation and help AccessCNY create more success stories like Tommy’s!


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