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Many assisted us in initially purchasing a wheelchair and a new set of wheelchair wheels. We are so very grateful. Now we need your help once again. 

My journey with Tophi Gout and spinal problems (too high of a risk for surgery) began after my career in the U.S. Army and as a police detective/SWAT. Perhaps it began when I was running cross-country in military school. While I'm not sure at what point I actually began developing spinal problems, while attending seminary later in life, I developed chronic gout, also known as Tophi Gout. I didn't realize it at the time but I wouldn't become a pastor, but rather a missionary working from home because this disease is so debilitating. 

Tophi Gout is not just a hurting big toe, but is an extremely painful disease that goes throughout the body to all the joints. It constatntly circulates throughout my body - my toes, knees, elbows, hands, fingers, and even at times makes it way to my ears. It is a serious genetic disease causing the body to not properly get rid of uric acid. High uric acid can lead to high kidney and liver enzymes, heart disease, etc. which may lead to death. 

The gout bumps (crystal like filled blisters, literally tophi, or tophus) are dissolving on my feet and fingers. Though this is a painful process, this is great news! This indicates that the meds are working and that the rest of the tophi in the remainder of my body are also dissolving. While I'm not at the finish line yet, this is progress. While we still have a few more years to go on this front, after numerous doctors, medications, and various other treatments, we remain hopeful.

Because the tophi have been dissolving, the gout is affecting my fingers more than ever. They are always stiff, painful, and swollen. They are literally becoming unusable. While I'm thankful and very fortunate that my place of employment has supplied voice recognition software for my missionary work, it is becoming more difficult to grip and hold things. The regular things I use to  take for granted are now more difficult - even rolling a wheelchair.

Since my fingers, hands, and arms (due to tophi gout) and shoulders (due to lower back) are both not as functional as they need to be, I'm hoping for a wheelchair electrical assist device known as "SmartDrive MX2." This device would help me use my fingers less and my palms / elbows more to control my wheelchair. A proper way of stating the upgrade would be that it would essentially make the manual wheelchair a hybrid-electric one. Needless to say, this would help with some of my pain and mobility issues. The SmartDrive MX2 needed is a complete system including not only the device itself, but a carry bag, extra module, band, and a throttle control. We have included a link below so you may review the product. You may also play some of the videos above in the photo array to become more familiar with this ingenious device.

We need $8667.00 (this price includes some new wheels which have already been purchased). Insurance will not cover these necessary upgrades. This is a lot of money, but still more economical than the recommended Permobil power wheelchair built to spec, a specialized Honda van, etc. Thanks for anything you can do.

#GiveForward so Joe can #GoForward -->>

Website: http://www.max-mobility.com/smartdrive/#mx2

Sincerely,

Joe

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