Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Roosevelt AT Lab coordinator goes the extra mile for local family

Photo of Roy and Shawna Mounteer
Roy and Shawna Mounteer
Ray Mounteer was an active hunter, fisher and hiker. Then, a series of surgeries changed everything. He lost the use of his legs and began crawling to get where he needed to go--inside the house and out to the car.

"I was pretty distraught over the whole thing," he said. "It takes a lot out of you when you're as active as I was. ... I didn't know where to go or who to talk to. It hit so fast."

His wife, Shawna, spoke to someone at the hospital and learned of the Assistive Technology Lab on the Roosevelt campus at Utah State University. The lab is part of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at the Center for Persons with Disabilities.

"Next thing I know, here's this man knocking on my door with this chair."

Cameron Cressall, the Roosevelt AT Lab coordinator, responded to the call with assistive technology, and more. "He has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make things bearable at the house for me," Ray said.

Cressall came two or three times, helping them with a motorized wheelchair, a handrail for the shower and a manual wheelchair that they could put in the car and take to the store. It was important to Ray to have a wheelchair that could go into the car, since he and his wife do everything together.

"He made it so easy for me to adapt to this condition, and now that I'm getting better and my legs are working again, he gave me words of wisdom and moral support," Ray said.

"They seem much happier. It's been wonderful seeing this transformation in their lives," said Cressall.

Clay Christensen, Logan's AT Lab coordinator, said both AT labs can make life easier for people who experience a temporary need for assistive technology. While he was not involved in the Mounteers' case, he has seen many people whose lives were made easier with loaned equipment, like a wheelchair or hand rail. "A lot of times, if somebody is temporarily rendered without the use of their legs, insurance will not provide them with a chair, whether it is a manual wheelchair or an electric one," he said. "They will be denied but they will still need mobility. ... There are a great many people out there who are needlessly going without or suffering, that if they were aware of our services could be provided with the equipment that they need."

The AT Labs and independent living centers around Utah help in those situations. Both Utah AT Labs have equipment loan banks. "If people come to us, we can pull our resources together."

"It definitely made a difference in our lives," said Shawna. "Ray was able to be part of our family, to get out. ... He became a completely different person."

If you need equipment, or if you have used equipment you would like to donate, call UATP at 800.524.5152.

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