Iona Team Effort Restores Hope: “It Was a Relief”

June 17, 2016

Carolyne Sauls is thankful to Iona for helping her secure a motorized scooter - for free.
Carolyne Sauls is thankful to Iona for helping her secure a motorized scooter – for free.

Carolyne Sauls had lost all faith. After more than a year of investigating and back-andforth calls between Medicaid and a medical supply company, she was no closer to having a working motorized wheelchair — a necessity after Ms. Sauls’ stroke in 2001. Instead, she was getting by with one literally held together with pins and tape.

So, when an Iona volunteer asked Ms. Sauls during a routine home delivered meals visit if there was anything else she needed, Ms. Sauls replied with a laugh and joked about needing a replacement for her wheelchair. “By the time Iona came along, I had given up hope,” Ms. Sauls said. “I thought nothing could be done.”

Less than a month later, Iona proved Ms. Sauls wrong — but in the best possible way.

Up until that point, Ms. Sauls had been battling Medicaid in a complicated struggle that included the shocking news that a medical supply company had fraudulently used her name to receive payment from Medicaid. Two weeks later, the company did send Ms. Sauls a wheelchair.

“They must have gotten afraid,” says Ms. Sauls. “But, the wheelchair they sent was probably a send-back because it wasn’t in good condition. It leaned to the side, and I need something to keep me upright.”

When Ms. Sauls tried to get someone to repair the chair, she was repeatedly turned down. The breaking point was when Ms. Sauls was told that she would have to wait at least four years before she could receive a replacement from Medicaid. On top of that, she would need a wheelchair supply company to say in writing that her wheelchair was beyond repair.

“It was very discouraging. I felt like nobody would come to help me,” says Ms. Sauls.

Iona changed her mind.

The same day Ms. Sauls mentioned her chair to the volunteer, staff members from the development, nutrition, and administrative teams were working together to problem-solve. Within hours, we had a lead — there were two motorized wheelchairs in Iona’s medical supply loan closet, which provides donated used equipment to anyone in need for as long as it is needed. However, both required new batteries, and there was no guarantee that the chairs would work.

But, then, the stars aligned. A week later, the development team received a call from Bonnie Washington, who wanted to donate a scooter — which functions similarly to a motorized wheelchair — to our loan closet. Immediately, we knew it was meant to be.

“I couldn’t believe it when Iona called me about the scooter,” says Ms. Sauls. “I really wanted to jump for joy.”

On March 14, Ms. Sauls received the scooter — completely free of charge. Iona had given her hope again. “I was really, really happy,” says Ms. Sauls. “I felt so wonderful to know that this scooter was mine — I felt like a kid. It was a gift from the Lord.”

Written by Rosie Aquila

Rosie Aquila is Iona’s Communications and Marketing Manager. A graduate of Kenyon College (where she worked as editor for the college’s newspaper), Rosie joined Iona’s team in 2014.