Disabled woman faces unemployment without a way to work

Disabled woman faces unemployment without a way to work

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland woman may be forced to quit her job if she doesn't find a wheelchair accessible van.

Cheryl Russell was born with a rare genetic disease, called Osteogensis Imperfecta, which causes her bones to be brittle. Throughout her life, the 56-year-old has suffered 100 bone fractures.

Russell depends on a wheel chair accessible van to get to work downtown, but she said after years of Ohio winter weather conditions, the chain and motor to the lift on her current 2006 van are completely rusted and can no longer be repaired.

Russell has worked at the Justice Center for about 27 years, but fears she may have to quit her job if she can't get a new van, which will cost around $50,000. Russell said she believes her job keeps her active.

"People with my bone disease, they don't live as long as I've lived. They told my mom at birth that I wouldn't live to be 16 years old, so I'm 56, and my doctor yesterday she was saying I think by you working actually kept me active," said Russell.

Russell's co-workers and family have organized a fundraiser through Help Hope Live, a nonprofit organization. She said friends are also hosting a benefit for her in August.

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