Long before Covid-19 was a blight on all our houses, theCHIVE had built up an affinity with people stuck in their homes. And we have strongly insisted on liberating them.
It began with Melissa Smith, a beautiful girl trapped on the second floor of her apartment. Melissa was completely reliant on good friends to physically carry her down the stairs and transport her to the doctor.
Then there was Kenze Messman. She was trapped in her home under entirely different circumstances. Kenze’s Mast Cell Activation Disorder caused her to have an allergic reaction to nearly everything. Trapped in her room with nothing but time, Kenze kept a running list of her ambulance trips on the wall – everything from emergency surgery to anaphylactic shock.
The list goes on and on… I suppose that’s why the will to liberate our recipients from their homes is so strongly woven into the fabric of theCHIVE.
With that, I introduce you to Zack Siek.
I have to admit that I love Chive Charities recipients who help themselves. When Zack applied for a Chive Charities grant, he submitted captioned photos of what a day in the life of Zack is like.
Zack was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), type 2. As a result of the SMA, Zack has limited use of his arms and has never been able to stand. He has required the use of an electric wheelchair since he was three. Candidly, Zack told me none of the wheelchairs have been all that great, functional at best. If you think the base of his chair appears small and narrow, you’d be correct.
‘Functional at best’ is about all Zack’s insurance company has ever been willing to pay for. That presents a number of obstacles for Zack in the real world. When Zack attempts to leave his home, his father must act as a counterweight to ensure Zack’s chair doesn’t suddenly tip forward.
Due to the chair’s narrow base and frame, uneven ground poses even more tipping opportunities.
For most people, uneven sidewalks and driveway craters are minor inconveniences. For Zack, they’re minefields.
Still, nothing has stopped Zack from achieving his goals. He graduated with a BA from Edinboro University and has an affinity for graphic design and pixel art. If you’re a gamer, you’ll find his Twitter is outstanding. Zack is highly intelligent and incredibly creative. For some of our recipients, the small grace we provide to enable them to leave their homes can completely transform their lives.
Here is Melissa Smith, for example, moving into her brand new ADA accessible home built by the Chivers.
And this is Kenze now at her high school graduation. Before the Chivers intervened by renovating her moldy home, Kenze wouldn’t have dreamed this moment possible.
No doubt you’re asking ‘what can we do to help?’ Simply enjoy how lucky you really are today, because the tab is paid in full.
As we speak, Chivers are on their way to Zack’s house to re-pave the driveway and sidewalks. The speed bumps between him and the world will be a smooth ride now.
Together with Chive Charities' Green Ribbon Fund, STRATACACHE sponsored Zack's grant, including his driveway repair and a two-component conversion on his power wheelchair including a seat elevator and wider frame to support stability. “Zack and his support system are an inspiration,” said Chris Riegel, CEO of STRATACACHE. “In what is a challenging time for many Americans, we are proud to help Zack in his journey and provide him with basic amenities to make his everyday life easier.”
STRATACACHE is our largest, most impactful partner to date. Since 2018, STRATACACHE has donated $150,000 to Chive Charities. In addition to Zachary, their impact has touched and supported recipients including Rozyn, Gracyn, and an upcoming recipient, Jensen. The ongoing support from STRATACACHE has been instrumental in enabling Chive Charities to distribute life-changing grants to those in need, and it’s an integral part of their company identity, which you can read more about here.
As we look to extend our reach across the country and continue our mission to make the world 10% happier, strategic partnerships will become even more critical. We simply can’t do it alone. If you or your organization is interested in creating the kind of impact for Chive Charities that STRATACACHE has, please contact us at [email protected] or learn more here.
Hopefully your day is a little brighter now, Chivers.