Handicapped Irma evacuees need help finding accommodations in Queen City

- With evacuations ordered, many people hit the roads to get out of Hurricane Irma’s path with many only able to grab the essentials before hitting the road. One family, driving for days, arrived in Charlotte with some special challenges but grateful they made it.

Eloise Thompson said her family made the decision to leave their home in Zephyrhills, just north of Tampa, Wednesday. They left everything behind but she said she wasn’t leaving her daughter who is an Air Force Veteran with multiple sclerosis and a quadriplegic. She also wasn’t leaving behind her friend Ron, who has Parkinson’s disease. Both her daughter and friend are non-mobile and require round-the-clock care.

Thompson said she knew she couldn’t leave her daughter and friend behind after hearing Florida Governor Rick Scott say there was no plan for people in nursing homes.

Monday evening, Thompson still hadn’t eaten because she’d been caring for her daughter and Ron preparing them food, giving them medication, and bathing them.

Before leaving her Florida home, Thompson loaded up her R-V with food, water and her three dogs and drove alongside her son and his wife in search of a place to stay but, with all the hotels booked up they found themselves in Charlotte.

“Well it hurt before I left, because as you’re leaving your home, you know, you’re leaving everything you have and I didn’t know if I would even see it again. So I was like, well I guess I’m saying goodbye. I don’t want to like cry, but it’s hard because you don’t know,” said Thompson.

When she arrived at her grandson’s house in Charlotte, Thompson parked her R-V at the corner. She knocked on a neighbor’s door, explaining she had evacuated because of the storm and offered to pay to plug in her R-V for power. The neighbor said she could at no charge.

Monday evening the rain began falling harder causing the ceiling in Thompson’s R-V to leak. they had no gas for heat or to cook with. Ron stayed in bed all day just to keep warm.

Thompson’s daughter has been sleeping in her wheelchair because there’s no way to get her up the stairs to a bed. Concerns continuing to grow as they wait to hear if they even have a home to go back to.

This family is in dire need of a handicap room, gas and medical supplies including catheter tubes, adult diapers, and bed pads.

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