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The Contarinos Are Helping to Make a Difference

Cathy and Matt

The customers that walk through the doors of every United Access store aren’t just customers; they become long-term partners, friends, and family. Cathy Contarino is one of those people. Cathy, Executive Director at Impact Center for Independent Living, has been a customer of United Access for more than 20 years. Through the years, Cathy has owned four full-sized vans that they brought in to be serviced by United Access, and then later purchased four wheelchair accessible minivans, and she’s trusted the Mobility Specialists at United Access to help customize each vehicle to her specific mobility needs.

Without reliable accessible transportation, it can be challenging for wheelchair users to get back and forth to work, get to doctor appointments, and even everyday errands become trying. In Cathy’s role at Impact, an organization that helps people with disabilities achieve maximum independence in work, school, house and every part of life while participating equally in their community, it’s vital that she makes it into the office each day. Without her wheelchair accessible van, Cathy would not be able to operate this non-profit organization like she does today.

Helping people isn’t just important to Cathy; it’s a value that the Contarino household holds dear. Cathy’s husband, Matt, started looking for a change in his career. He wanted to be with a company where he could make a difference in people’s lives. Cathy, who followed United Access on Facebook, saw that they were hiring so she suggested that Matt apply. Matt has now become part of the United Access family, working as a Title Specialist at the corporate headquarters in St. Louis.

This month, Matt and Cathy purchased a 2016 Toyota Sienna with a BraunAbilty conversion as their latest wheelchair accessible van. We can’t wait to hear about all of their new adventures!

Paralyzed Tupelo boy receives anonymous $50,000 check to buy wheelchair accessible van

Chiquita Bobo could not believe her eyes. “I looked at it, looked at it again, and then looked at it again,” Bobo said. “I had to hold onto it for a little bit to make sure it was real.

”The $50,000 check was real, and Wednesday morning at Tupelo Middle School, Bobo – an assistant teacher at Milam Elementary – presented a giant version of it to Teetta Vasser and her son Keshun, who has been paralyzed since he was shot in the neck in September. The family will use the money to purchase a wheelchair accessible van.

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Helping the Hengstenbergs on the road to independence

The Hengstenbergs have their hands full with three children in car seats and Sawyer, who is in a wheelchair. Sawyer is a very sweet little girl who has been through many things already in her short life. Sawyer was born without a heartbeat, breath or life due to delivery complications. Doctors performed CPR for 30-40 minutes while trying to get a heartbeat. A ventilator was put in place to assist her in breathing and to supply oxygen to her brain. While all this was happening, nurses applied many bags of ice to her head to keep her brain from bleeding. Once Sawyer was stable, she was air lifted to Mercy Hospital St. Louis to the NICU. Sawyer was put on a cold bed for three days to allow her brain time to heal, which she did.

Once we were home, she continued to make progress toward healing. At six months we hit another obstacle; Sawyer was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth. Living with Cerebral Palsy can make it difficult for people to move about as easily, especially when it comes to getting in and out of a vehicle. That same day she was also diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Since her diagnosis, Sawyer has had two hip surgeries. The last of which was a really rough recovery for her. She was recently diagnosed with asthma due to all of the respiratory viruses. This past year she has started to have seizures. She was diagnosed with Seizure Disorder (Epilepsy). We are continuing to work on her feeding, sensory issues and talking and moving.

This van is going to be a life-changer when going places! It is so hard to get her chair in and out of our current van,” said Mrs. Hengstenberg. “We have been in the market for a wheelchair-accessible van to accommodate our family. Having a van that would accommodate us all would be a lifesaver.”

Disabled Girl Sitting In Wheelchair. On Her Legs Orthosis. Child Cerebral Palsy. Inclusion.

Thanks to a few generous organizations such as the Steelman Family FoundationMissouri Assistive Technology, and Varity the Children’s Charity of St. Louis along with several other generous donors, the Hengstenberg family will be driving away in their new 2016 Northstar E Dodge Caravan this Friday at the United Access corporate headquarters.

“The stories we hear every day and the smiles we see on our customers faces when they drive away for the first time, fuel our passion for the work we do,” said United Access Founder, Richard May.

“We are dedicated to giving back to the community that has given so much to us,” said René Steelman, founder of the Foundation. “This is the first grant we’ve been able to provide outside of the West Coast and we couldn’t be happier that it’s going to the Hengstenberg family.”

All in, Sawyer is a healthy, happy, normal little girl. Yes, she has physical disabilities but that doesn’t change who she is. She will brighten anyone’s day and everyone she meets just falls in love with her smile.

Everyone here at United Access wishes all the best to little Sawyer and all of the Hengstenberg family.

United Access in Plano moves to join forces with United Access in Rowlett

Close Up.team Work In Business Join Forces.

Effective June 1, 2018, the United Access store in Plano, Texas will move to join the store and staff at United Access in Rowlett. This move will allow United Access to better serve the Dallas communities as well as provide an exceptional customer experience for our customers. The new Rowlett store will be led by General Manager, Patrick Landeck. United Access in Rowlett is located at:

United Access – Rowlett

2704 Lawing Lane Ste. 300
Rowlett, TX 75088

972-240-8839

Make sure you mark your calendars for June 30th from 9am – 2pm so you can join us for the Grand Re-Opening event! There will be lots of food and family fun. Please RSVP so we know you’re coming.