Tammy Chizek got a chance to thank donors who made it possible for her to see her daughter’s graduation from Hillsboro High School. The event was an ice cream social Monday at Parkside Homes For Senior Living in Hillsboro.
“I didn’t realize how many people I had left an impression on,” Chizek said.
Chizek, 50, is one of the youngest residents at Parkside, event organizer Devona Roble said. Chizek suffers from multiple sclerosis. Since 1993, when she was diagnosed, she has lost the use of both her legs and her right arm. She needed a new wheelchair that she could use with one hand.
With the help of people like Richard and Marilyn Riemer, who organized the first fundraiser, Chizek was able to obtain a motorized wheelchair that allows her to tilt her body to relieve some of the pain that builds in her body.
Chizek received the wheelchair May 12; she had two days to become comfortable with the chair before she witnessed her daughter, Megan, graduate.
“It was wonderful,” Chizek said of Megan’s graduation. “There were no words to say.”
Now 19, Megan was just 2-years-old when Chizek had to quit her job as a material control supervisor for Sharpline Converting in Wichita. Chizek gave up her job before her diagnosis because she started to lose control of her limbs while she was walking.
Chizek said it has been difficult watching Megan grow up as her condition has worsened. Megan lived with her father and other relatives in Lincolnville when she was younger; she is now a student at Fort Hays State University.
Megan’s support for her mother has never wavered.
“She didn’t see me as having MS,” Chizek said. “She saw everybody else as having problems.
“I was surprised at such a young age (she could) adapt to it,” Chizek added. “She handled it better than me sometimes.”
The staff at Parkside have become like family to Chizek.
“Many staff take her on as family, represent what she doesn’t have,” Roble said. “She’s a pretty big deal around here.”