According to the Center for Disease Control, (CDC) in 2013, more than 75 million Americans aged 18 or older suffered from some sort of physical mobility impairment, and those numbers are only expected to rise due to aging populations, chronic health conditions and growing barriers to quality health care.
Affects Us All
With nearly 15% of the world’s population diagnosed with some type of physical disability, it’s a good chance you or someone you know also experiences emotional and financial challenges because of it. Some of life’s most basic tasks — like walking to get the newspaper or picking up a gallon of milk —often present huge challenges for mobility-impaired individuals.
When Mark Schmorrow was first diagnosed with AMN, he was unsure how much his life would be affected but he refused to let AMN dictate what he wanted to do. During the latter part of his life, Mark completed in several BAA 10K races in the wheelchair division, as well as half-marathons and local races to support AMN research.
Following his AMN diagnosis, the adult onset of Adrenoleukodystrophy, Mark continued most “traditional” ways of life, but ALD/AMN is a progressive disease and most tasks became challenging. While he considered himself lucky to have a supportive family, friends and community networks, he understood not all are blessed with such fortune.
Achieving Independence & Physical Excellence
Like Mark, many disabled individuals value fitness and health and most enjoy competing in sporting events, leagues or a game of backyard tag football. Unfortunately, the costs of customized fitness equipment and mobility aids are explosive and because of that, fitness often take a “seat on the bench.”
Some prosthetic attachments — which must be replaced every few years — can cost upwards of $50,000 and may not be covered by insurance companies. In addition, pharmaceutical costs and rising cost of living expenses make it nearly impossible for disabled individuals to purchase mobility aids without severe financial impacts.
Mark’s family understands these challenges, having been rejected multiple times by insurance agencies to cover the cost of mobility aids that helped Mark lead a more independent life. Through relentless research and continued advocacy on his behalf, they were able to enroll in the right insurance program that not only provided the equipment he needed, but also at no cost.
We proudly assist disabled individuals and their families with research and grant application support to help locate, apply for and acquire modified equipment for recreational sports and mobility aids to lead more independent, safer lives. Pro-bono services are provided to Massachusetts residents with preference to patients suffering from neurological disorders.
Excel through Academics
Mark Schmorrow Memorial Scholarship
Applications Considered Spring 2021
Before Mark’s disease progressed to his brain, he enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University with the intention of completing his Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resources. Unfortunately, his disease progressed rapidly and he developed problems with sight, reading comprehension and memory loss, making it impossible for him to pursue his college education.
In his memory, we are pleased to offer the Mark Schmorrow Memorial Scholarship ($1,500) to a graduating high school senior pursuing a career in Social Services or Human Resources. Preference is given to Ipswich High School and Gloucester High School candidates who are passionate about helping others and demonstrate commitments to community stewardship, volunteer work and academic achievement.
We strongly encourage mobility-challenged students and those with learning disabilities to apply.