Special Needs Children Weather The Recent Storms Without Needed Care
When Sandy hit, thousands of families with children who have special needs were left in a dangerous bind, as hundreds of caregivers could not reach those families to give them the medical care that helps them survive. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.
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The Tansey family of Belle Harbor, Queens is making the most of their tight living space. After losing their home to flooding and fire last week, family members in another part of the borough, Douglaston, took them in.
"It's been a challenge but it's all been wonderful. We're all bonding," said Jacqueline Tansey. "To have family that's close and loves us and took us with open arms, that's irreplaceable,"
Medical care for Jacqueline Tansey's 12-year-old son, Peyton, is also irreplaceable. Peyton has a genetic disease that attacks the nerve cells in the spinal cord. He can't walk and has trouble breathing.
"When he is maintained he does well. But when things start to turn bad he can deteriorate very quickly," said Patrick Tansey, Peyton's father.
Peyton relies on a caregiver from St. Mary's Children's Hospital. When Sandy hit, his caregiver could not get to the family for days because of the gas shortage.
Patrick Tansey is a firefighter, so while all this was happening to his family, he was also trying to do his job to help others in the Rockaways.
"Well that's exactly what it feels like. You've been hit on all fronts," he said.
The Tanseys were one of thousands of St. Mary's families who were in the same bind after last week's storm.
"Think of these families who have the challenges every day of caring for a child with special needs, compounded by the storm," said Leslie Johnson of St. Mary's Children's Hospital.
Because of busing issues in the family's temporary location, Peyton still cannot get to his school where he also gets important services.
"I stay for the after-school basketball program, wheelchair basketball," he said.
The caregivers finally got to their patients by getting creative, carpooling and sharing supplies. But gas is still an issue, and after Wednesday's storm some caregivers still have trouble getting to their patients.
Despite all they have been through, the Tanseys know they are lucky.
"Now that we have some help, it's real peace of mind," said Jacqueline Tansey.