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Local Woman Hopes to Win Wheelchair Van

Ruth Eckerd Hall employee Pamela Petrusky is a paraplegic who relies on a wheelchair and a 15 year-old car to get around. She hopes to win a wheelchair accessible van in a free online voting contest.

Pamela Petrusky's days are numbered.

She has less than a week to get the highest number of votes in an online contest. If Petrusky wins, her life will change dramatically.

In Petrusky's world, daily tasks that many of us do not think twice about, require a complicated series of steps to complete. 

One example is getting into a car.

The 53 year-old has to hoist her body out of her wheelchair and lower herself into her car. Once she is seated in the car, she takes apart her wheelchair and places it inside the car (see video). Once she arrives at her destination, she puts the wheelchair back together and hoists herself from the driver's seat and into the wheelchair.

"She moved to Florida on her own leaving friends and family. It has been a struggle but she found a part-time job and wonderful friends that became like family to her," said her sister Pati Sivek.

Petrusky's doctors say the process has badly damaged her neck and shoulders and she won't be able to continue to get into a car in this manner much longer.

This is one reason why her family and friends are rallying around her, trying to win her a new wheelchair accessible van.

Her family has created a Facebook page to get the word out about the contest. Her nephew, Zeus even enlisted the help of the family dog and posted a photo (see photos).

"Pamela is a very independent vibrant person. No matter what happens in her life she has tried her best to go on and make the best of it," Sivek said. "With numerous hardships, operations and health issue she still strives forward."

Petrusky, a native of Monessen, Penn., has been paraplegic since she was injured at the age of 34. She has worked part time for more than eight years at .

"Pamela is often told by others that she is an inspiration and a hero to them. She also has serious illnesses but she takes very good care of herself, which in itself it a full time job. Pamela does everything herself, cooks, cleans, food shopping and everything we all take for granted," Sivek said.

If you would like to help Petrusky, information about how you can vote is below. You can vote once a day, voting ends Sunday (May 13).

To Vote-

  1. Go to this link-MobilityAwarenessMonth 
  2. Click on "Local Heroes" in the Menu Bar
  3. Search for Pamela's last name: Petrusky
  4. Click on "Vote for Me"
  5. A short form will appear asking for your name and email address. If you type "869" in the promo box, Pamela will receive 5 extra votes.

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