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Letter To The Editor: Life Will Always Have Obstacles

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Greenburgh Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email greenburgh@dailyvoice.com

Life will always have obstacles but, if you can, it is important to turn these bumps into learning experiences.

Earlier this year, I was hit by one of those obstacles. I required cervical spine surgery. The recovery took longer than anticipated, but I'm fortunate. Not only will my recovery be 100% but throughout my physical rehabilitation I've been able to keep my mind active and immersed in Town affairs. I was able to work remotely from the hospital and home, participating by phone, and at Town Board meetings and work sessions by Skype. I was able to review and post on the Town’s website every Town Board resolution and local law, just as I did before the surgery: not missing even one. But I am one of the lucky ones.

My circumstance is not typical. Caregivers and those they care for often find themselves exhausted and alone. Disabilities can drain bank accounts and the psyche, cost jobs, and, in some cases, be permanent.

For decades, I've advocated for people with disabilities. When I recognized the 2007 plan to expand the Greenburgh Public Library didn't provide ADA access from the abutting bus stop, I, with the support of Town Board members, had a ramp installed. When I recognized the recent proposal for the Veterans Memorial at DeSanti Plaza didn't provide wheelchair-bound veterans access to the actual monument, I had the plan changed to provide that access. Caring for my 102-year-old grandfather and later my 97-year-old mother at home, in a health care system that discourages home care, I learned the challenges of aging-in-place.

None of that, however, prepared me for this "bump." I had always been the advocate, the caregiver. Now that I am almost 100% recovered, I am even more committed to making sure that we as a Town do whatever we can for those who are the caregivers and those who are in need. I am choosing to share my personal experience because, perhaps, it will give others a little more insight, and we can unite to make a difference together.

Francis Sheehan, Councilman

Town of Greenburgh

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