IN SPIRIT 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,
IAneice and attendants have a great team of attendants who get me up every day and keep me healthy and active, as well as two live-in caregivers who put me to bed and are here through the night. IN SPIRIT staff, friends and volunteers are also in-and-out. Itís a full house! There are a few hours in my day and evening when I am on my own. These can be quiet and productive times that keep me in balance. But life is full of unavoidable glitches that can put me in limbo, if not grind my activity to a halt. My wheelchair might malfunction, I may drop my mouthstick and be unable to use my computer, or I may knock my telephone out of reach. I must wait for someone to help put me back in motion. Whether it's housemates who may be here but not on duty, or attendants or friends who happen to drop by, they are gracious about lending a hand. Together they make it possible to keep me and IN SPIRIT rolling along. It takes a village to keep a quadriplegic on the move, and I'm grateful to say I've found my village. Not all quadriplegics are so fortunate. IN SPIRIT needs your support to help us bring safety and well-being to others in the quadriplegic community. On behalf of myself and those we serve, THANK YOU ALL for your part in keeping us moving forward.
Aneice Taylor

Just in.....GOOD NEWS FLASH...
IN SPIRIT has been in negotiations since 2009 to recover the $300,000 lost investment we placed with the Vanguard Public Foundation, and we are pleased to report a favorable settlement has been reached. It is considerably less than our original investment, but we are glad to put this behind us and move forward pursuing new sources of support in the community. We are very grateful for the pro bono representation of Hanson Bridgett LLP who made it possible. Thank you ALL for your support.

Thank You to the following foundations
Nathan Cummings Foundation
Bill Graham Foundation
Fred and Annette Gellert Foundation
Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, Inc.
Marin Community Foundation
New World Foundation
George H. Sandy Foundatio

IN SPIRIT needs your support to continue the monthly grants that help quadriplegics live in their homes with stable attendant care and be active in their families and communities.

IN SPIRIT at Work Enabling Long-Term Care in the Comfort of Home

Because of its longevity, IN SPIRIT has been easing not only the day to day struggles of those we serve, but the aging process as well. As quadriplegia stresses most systems of the body -- circulatory, respiratory, metabolic, skin, bones, urinary tract, etc. -- the aging process is accelerated.

By providing uninterrupted monthly grants for attendant care, we have been helping quadriplegics age in grace in their homes for 24 years.

Through our Financial Aid for Attendant Care Program, $55,000 in grants was given to 14 persons in 2010-11. Their ages range from 46 to 80. Unfortunately, the financial challenges of the last few years pre- vented us from assuming new ongoing commitments, although we have given emergency grants. IN SPIRIT has helped over 50 persons stay out of nursing homes on a permanent basis since 1987. In this newsletter, we highlight two individuals who have been receiving long-term assistance.


William had an accident that left him quadriplegic in 1996. He receives IHSS*, but it is insufficient to meet his needs. IN SPIRIT began providing monthly assistance in 2001. William was a computer programmer living in San Diego and eventually moved to Marin County to be with his sister and mother. He uses a mouthstick to work with his computer to keep up with friends, news and spinal cord injury research. He works out regularly with an electronic muscle stimulator and standing frame. William has grown to appreciate the slower pace in Marin County than in southern California.


Charles has had MS for over 40 years and has received monthly grants from IN SPIRIT since 1994. He has endured serious health complications, but he is a wonderful example of how body limitations are not to be confused with a vital lifestyle and outlook! He has had a long career as a journalist and author and this year completed two books that have been in the works for years. I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends is a captivating read about his VERY interesting life and meeting his lovely wife Veronique in 1992. Also completed this year was a project begun in 1973 when he was sent to Rome by Time Magazine to cover the kidnapping and ransom of J. Paul Getty III. He was later asked by Getty to write a book. Circumstances delayed the project, but the work, titled The Ear, is finally complete. Getty died earlier this year but was able to read the book and give his approval.
Charles now uses a feeding tube (except for chocolate and soft boiled eggs!), and is faced daily with physical challenges, but his presence is strong and clear. You may contact him for information on his books at

US Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Cuts to Medi-Cal and IHSS*

In October, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Washington DC on three cases dealing with 2008 and 2009 Medi-Cal provider rate reductions in California. The court will decide by June 2012 whether Medi-Cal recipients, providers and advocates have a right to sue the State of California to stop reductions as a violation of a federal Medicaid law. 
Depending on how the high court rules could lead to a landmark decision that could have sweeping impact on millions of seniors, people with disabilities and mental health needs, not only in California, but across the nation. With California facing yet another year of  budget shortfalls and new reductions, the court ruling will have enormous impact on how those issues are resolved.
Excerpt from California Disability Community Action Network #172-2011, October 3,

Hats off to 82-year-old attorney Lynn Carman of Novoto, respected disability advocate and a lead attorney in the cases.


IN SPIRIT stepping in to meet unique needs Through its Special Needs Program

SPIRIT steps in to assist individuals with specific needs that help ensure their health, safety and ability to function independently. In our previous fiscal year, over $10,000 was expended for12 people to help meet these special needs.
The wide range of important services, equipment and medical supplies needed by quadriplegics can be financially out of reach. For those living on an extremely tight budget such as SSI (Supplemental Secruity Income) of $830 a month, many basic needs are hard to come by. Furthermore, if someone on SSI is living in a nursing home, all of their SSI goes to the nursing home except about $40 a month. Telephone and Internet service, for example, may be beyond their resources.Bill
IN SPIRIT helped Bill Browne with a "special need" until his recent passing. Bill became quadriplegic as a result of a car accident in his early 20's. He had no family and got by in a subsidized apartment with sketchy attendant care until serious respiratory problems required surgery and rehabilitation in a nursing home. Bill was disillusioned about losing his independence. IN SPIRIT and Marin CIL worked together to create options for him to return home with better attendant care, but he had lost his confidence and chose to remain in the nursing home. Bill was to spend most of the next two decades there. He seemed bored and unmotivated until about 10 years ago when someone loaned him a computer. He was elated and was soon able to express his warmth, humor and intelligence through e-mails.
Over the years, IN SPIRIT purchased two computers for Bill and paid for his phone and Internet service. Not only did he have more access to the world, he also had friends and volunteers helping him "stay connected." We were saddened by his unexpected death, but grateful IN SPIRIT was able to dramatically improve his quality of life.

Big “Trigger Cuts” to IHSS Are Likely

In October State Controller John Chiang reported that State revenues for the month of September fell $301.6 million below what was projected, making it likely that State budget "trigger cuts" will be pulled in December,  resulting in automatic cuts in a wide range of programs including IHSS. 
An across-the-board cut of 20% in IHSS services, totaling $100 million, could begin in January, affecting about 374,000 IHSS recipients. If this cut is implemented, low income seniors and persons with both physical and mental disabilities will have a dramatic loss of hours of service in their homes, thus jeopardizing their health and safety. Also, thousands of in-home workers could experience significant loss of income. Alarm is widespread.

Plant & People Magic - The Plant Sale

Plant sale - Green HouseOnce again we were overjoyed with the success of the sale -- bringing in over $10,000! We marveled at the plants and other delightful donations that arrived at IN SPIRIT headquarters in Woodacre. We welcomed offerings such as hand-potted herb gardens, fabulous "color" pots by Deacons from SGV Presbyterian Church, arrangements potted in vintage tins by Mary Chapman and Jean Kinsey, and many other shared treasures. Many local gardeners and businesses supplied our stock including John Kaufman with seedlings from the local school, Dahlia Kamesar, Dale Kemp, Pam Bird, Sunnyside Nursery, United Market, Fairfax Lumber and Home Depot. Our greenhouse cared for by Amy Valens and Tomato Dan resulted in many veggie and flower seedlings, and tomatoes overflowed into Dan's Tomato Land. A truckload of irresistible garden chotskies from Don and Sita Greer made everybody cheer. Jill Tramontano offered her wonderful pottery, and Marty Meade shared beads from the Arroyo Road Bead Collective. Signage provided by Ann Jones and Cathy Calaway again simplified our final mad rush.

Our hard-working dedicated volunteers again spent days setting up and staffing the sale and made it all come together. Thank you to the hard-working team: Amy Valens, Karen Zaggalini, Carol Hodil, Nancy Nichols, Joy Kendra, Marcia Gunnarson, Cindi de Channes, Valerie Fontenot, Sabenah Elizabeth, Tenaya Wieczorek, Kelly Durrant, Kathy Perkins, Jill Tramontono, Mesa Nordbye, Erin Clark, Jamie Sheldon, Michel Kotski, and Marie Grindler.
Every donation, small and great, added to the exciting event that is the IN SPIRIT Plant Sale. As one newcomer commented, "I get it! It's a festival!" Thank you one and all. Think of IN SPIRIT if you have things to share, and we hope to see you in 2012.

A Recipe for Success - Crab Feed with Carpets to go

Pam Bird and Valerie Fontenot of Bridges to the East and Evana Gerstman donated more lovely Turkish and Indian carpets to benefit IN SPIRIT. Valerie connected with the San Geronimo Valley Lions Club who graciously allowed the carpets to become part of their popular annual Crab Feed dinner and auction. It was a great connection for IN SPIRIT, resulting in over $4000 to help support our programs. Thank you, Pam, Valerie, Evana and Lions. The Crab Feed was all it's been cracked up to be!