Gene was born a full-term healthy baby in April 1986. In November of the same year, Gene was admitted to the hospital due to a brain hemorrhage. He spent six months in the hospital and underwent three open-head surgeries to clear the blood clot in his head. Miraculously, he survived all three surgeries but is now suffering from acquired cerebral palsy. During the six months hospitalization my wife and I took turns staying beside the bed around the clock with hundreds of hours of lost pay.
Gene finished his special education last summer and has been looking for a full time job. He is keeping himself very busy by volunteering 5 days a week at Salvation Army's Thrift store, swimming every Tuesday night, attending Variety Village's extreme sports on Thursday nights, as well as wheel-chair basketball on Saturday afternoon. He also volunteers a half day every Sunday morning at Leisure World, a senior nursing home. He enjoys playing card games with kids in a local mall Sunday afternoons. He is a devoted churchgoer every Friday night.
Gene has just finished a training program provided by the city called "Out and About" which gives him an experience of riding public transit to and from work. He is also enrolled in a life skills training course provided by the city called "Chef's Delight" which gives him hands on learning in preparing simple meals.
Gene has been benefited from all the above-mentioned programs and training with the extra support from CUPW's "Special Needs/Moving On" projects. Without CUPW's help, Gene might not have been able to reach out to so many activities. Not only CUPW's financial assistance lightened our burden, but also the concern with other members with similar issues brings us one step closer. CUPW not only looks after our welfare at work places, but also cares about members' family life quality. This is one great union we are proud of.