December not only marks a time of joy and celebration but also serves as a reminder to embrace the spirit of inclusion. Here ….
The Dullaghan Family
November 24, 2021
Hi. We are the Dullaghan family, and we would like to share our miracle story. The first miracle is our wonderful son. Our sweet boy Sean is eight years old now and had a traumatic birth. Complications caused Sean to be dead for 34 minutes, resulting in a devastating brain injury. He is non-verbal, quadriplegic, epileptic, spastic, G/J Tube fed, plus a few more diagnoses that require 24/7 nursing care.
An unreliable vehicle made things challenging for us. On one of our regular four-hour trips to the Brain Institute in Miami, the old van I was driving broke down, leaving us stranded on the side of the road. One of the issues with the vehicle involved the doors becoming stuck, which would trap us inside. Sean’s nurses did not like to ride in such a scary and undependable ride. I often worried about losing nursing care because they would not feel comfortable or safe in the van and would not want to take Sean as their patient. Other times, the problematic van would not start; that meant missing doctor and therapy appointments.
Those appointments are not easy to get and take months to schedule in advance — missing one resulted in potentially waiting for another 3-6 months to see the doctor again. Sean does not just see a family practitioner; he must see the specialists of the specialist, and these doctors have waiting lists and a tight schedule. Therapy sessions are a must as well. Canceling a therapy session at the last minute comes with a $50 charge. We take Sean to see physical, occupational, and speech therapists daily. All Sean’s specialist doctors are in Orlando, over an hour away, and his therapy sessions are two towns away, so reliable transportation is vital.
Yet, we found ourselves stranded and needing a ride to Miami — in a broken van that became hot from the scorching sun, making it difficult for Sean to breathe and increasing his chances of having epileptic seizures. I called all the transportation companies I could Google and tried desperately to get a ride to the hospital for our five-day stay.
There was no availability for another four hours, and our insurance did not cover the cost of transportation. It would cost $525.00 for a one-way trip just from where we had broken down and far more expensive to return home from the hospital! Renting or leasing a handicap-accessible van would cost over $1000.00 for five days.
The situation went from bad to worse. As I was calling every transport service around, Sean’s oxygen machine battery ran out. Recharging was impossible in a broken-down van, and his Pulse-Ox monitor battery was also dying. Now Sean had no oxygen, no heart rate or oxygen monitor, and he was uncomfortable in his chair and equipment because of the intense heat. At this point, his seizures were sure to start.
As if on cue, a policeman pulled up to help. The policeman pulled his car right next to the van, and we plugged the oxygen machine and pulse-ox monitor into his vehicle to charge the batteries. The officer turned up the A/C to help Sean, but it gave little relief as the intense heat was overpowering. The kind policeman joined the effort to find transportation to Miami, but he too was unsuccessful.
A tow truck was called to get the van back home, which cost $450.00, and we called an ambulance to transport Sean to the local hospital. While at the hospital, my husband came to take us the rest of the way to the Miami Brain Institute. To do so, he had to get our daughter out of school and bring her because we could not find someone to pick her up from school.
Once Sean was stabilized and released, we prepared to continue our journey to Miami. Our newest challenge: How to get Sean in a vehicle that is not handicap accessible? Fortunately, my husband brought a special needs car seat with him for Sean but needed a way to get him into the chair. Lifting someone who is basically dead weight into a van while trying to avoid hitting heads is difficult.
It takes two people to do it, but only one plus Sean could fit in the space at a time. With much effort, Sean was situated into the chair successfully and hooked up to his equipment again. Even though it was a special needs car seat, it no longer complied with Sean’s needs — he hadn’t used that chair in years because he required a wheelchair. It was only for use in an emergency since it would hold up to 165lbs, and we were glad we kept it after all! The challenge, then, was to make Sean as comfortable as possible and keep his head from falling forward.
Next, we needed to pack the vehicle with the respiratory equipment, the four of us, and our luggage, plus his wheelchair. The wheelchair is heavy, awkward to maneuver, and hoisting it three feet in the air to put in the back of a jam-packed vehicle was not easy!
Arriving in Miami, we now had a bill for the van repair for $250, gas for two vans at $200, a tow truck for the old van that cost $450. We had an unexpected hospital stay, a lost workday for my husband, and our daughter missed school, and we still needed to find a way back home. Whew!
We face these challenges and trials with positivity and perseverance to do what we need to for our miracle son, Sean. The next part of our story is our second miracle, and it came in the form of Mark Selleck, owner of South Beach Prosthetics! Mark found out about Sean, what happened to him, and his need for a van, and he immediately stepped up without hesitation and donated a handicap-accessible van. I can not tell you how much this means to us. What a relief it is to have reliable, safe, and comfortable transportation.
Our son can now make it to his therapy sessions, his doctor appointments, hospital stays, and even a local trip with the family. Even though Mark had never met us before, his willingness to help with such a significant act of kindness speaks volumes to his character. Even as we were about to drive away in the van, Mark was still looking to help another person and asked us to look out for anyone who needed prosthetic help and let him know. He had the means to give to someone who didn’t have a prosthetic limb one they could use. His generosity and compassion are profoundly moving.
I passionately and strongly urge everyone reading this story to consider ways of taking action and reach out to Mark Selleck and help with his organization in giving to others. Money is great, but it takes action to make it work. So, please donate your time, effort, and resources to this wonderful organization. Make a difference in the lives of others and this world just as Mark is doing. Someone out there is having a dark moment, just waiting for someone like you to take action and bring them a smile and help. You are the answer to someone today. Be that help. Thank you.