National Mobility Awareness Month Partners:

Crystal Bennett

Jamaica, NY

Entry Photo for Crystal Bennett - Jamaica, NY

I was a 25 year old female in the US Air Force, stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. I had three months remaining on my tour of duty and was just informed that I was accepted into Adelphi University (Garden City, NY). Soon after learning of my acceptance into Adelphi University, I found out I was pregnant. I was excited and nervous at the same time; but knew my world as I knew it, will change right before my eyes.

Fast forward to the day my baby was born. Aaliyah Shazai Bennett arrived January 16, 2003. I didn’t know what to expect, but that was the best day of my life. For the first couple of months of her life, Aaliyah was a very happy baby, with little to no complications. Everything changed when she turned two months old. A VP shunt had to be placed in her brain to drain the fluid due to her Hydrocephalus diagnose. She was diagnosed with cortical blindness shortly after. Over the past few years, my daughter has had to endure many medical challenges, including Scoliosis surgery and multiple hospitalizations. From the age of 6 months old to present, Aaliyah seizure activities has increased tremendously (from grand mal seizures every 3 to 6 months to tonic-clonic seizures 2 to 3 seizures per day).

The hardest part about this journey, I am limited to providing for my child’s quality of life. When Aaliyah is not in school, we are stuck in the house. Aaliyah receives Ambulette services through Medicaid, but that is used to transport Aaliyah to and from doctor’s appointments only. I would love to be able to take my daughter to different places such as the beach, family gatherings, park and other outings. At this time, we are in need of an accessible vehicle. I am taking this opportunity to submit my application and for you to consider Aaliyah as a recipient. I would like to thank you for your consideration and giving me the opportunity to share my story with others. This is for those whom are raising children with special needs; they will know that times may get tough, but they are not alone. This can be an inspiration for all to continue to love and care for their loved ones and see them as a precious gift from God, in spite of their imperfections. Thank you again.