Family Wins Long-Fought Battle For Wheelchair Access

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Chana Cohen of Bnei Brak’s mind is that of an intelligent, well-spoken, and optimistic young woman. Her body, however, is the source of tremendous suffering. ‘Chani’ was born with muscular dystrophy, a hereditary condition marked by progressive weakening of the muscles. She has difficulty breathing, and is confined to a wheelchair.

At 26-years-old, Chana lives with her parents, who are her primary caretakers. Though busy with many other children and their own jobs, they use whatever available time they have to tend to her needs. Despite her suffering, Chana is still usually seen smiling, a beacon of inspiring optimism. As she grows older, however, her situation has become more unlivable. Many parts of the Cohen home, including the one shared restroom for the large family,  is not wheelchair-accessible. If Chana needs to get somewhere that is not adapted for wheelchair-use, such as the restroom or her bed, her father has to pick her up and carry her to where she needs to go. He has done this for 26 years.

When her parents are not available, Chani is without help, and extremely limited.

The family has long fought for rights to expand their home, so as to build Chana her own bedroom, and a suitable restroom. Neighbors denied them the right to use the space until recently. The Cohen family is concerned that the offer to expand is temporary, and that the neighbors will eventually rescind the permission to build. They are consequently eager to start the additions as soon as possible, but are entirely financially unprepared to do so.

In an extremely touching video with accompanying text, Chana has addressed the public. Her goal is to raise funds for many of the ‘essentials’ needed to deal with her disease, including her own bedroom, a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, and a caretaker to help her with basic tasks when her parents are not present. Such resources would absolute transform the young woman’s life, and take a colossal weight off of the shoulders of her parents, who have struggled to provide her with her needs since birth.

“ Just something simple,” reads text, “so I can have privacy and dignity.”

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