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How We Got Here

Updated: May 14, 2020

This whole thing started with a book I wrote called The Disability Funding Guide, it has been quite an adventure. It took me over 3 years to write the book and many years of research prior to that gathering funding sources.  


But first a bit of the back story of how this all came to be, a few life changing things along the way is how this all came to be. 

So many of the families who have a child with a disability struggle with the enormous special needs of their child. Not only do they have staggering medical bills (often from the moment that child is born) they also need assistive technology products, therapies and more. 

Most often these needs are not covered by insurance. In addition to not being covered, their needs cost so much more. For example, a two wheeled quality bike would cost $400 but an adaptive bike averages over $4,000. These families can’t afford that. This is the same scenario for everything they need, anything adaptive cost so much more! 

This is where we come in to help these families, we are not here to give them the money they need, we are here to empower them to raise the money they need to get the items to help improve their child’s quality of life. We teach them how to get their child everything they need, not just one item, they really can get it all, once they learn what I teach them. 

These families already struggle financially but they need our help more now than ever before. With the millions of people losing their jobs due to the pandemic the financial stress is going to be even more devastating for these families. 

My family has owned a bike store in Illinois, The Bike Rack, for over 45 years. My brother Hal ended up having triplets born 3 months early and after struggling to survive his son ended up with Cerebral Palsy. 

Although Jacob was unable to walk Hal wanted him to be able to ride a bike with his sisters. So he set out to do just that, he found an adaptive bike that worked for him and we were now in the adaptive bike business. 



The only problem, these bikes are so expensive, way too expensive for most families. 

When Jacob was 10 Hal wanted him to undergo Hyperbaric Chamber treatments.  Three months of dives cost over $12,000 and insurance turned Hal down at the last minute, he was devastated. So I told Hal we could ask for help, he said he would not ask anyone for help. So I said I would. 

Not having a clue what to do I just sat at the computer and figured it out, I ended up raising all of the money he needed and Jacob got the treatments. (side-note, for the first time at age 11 Jacob was able to blow out his birthday candles for the first time). 

The one problem with selling adaptive bikes at our bike store was they were too expensive for most people, so I figured out that if I took what I did for Jacob and taught the families what I did, they could raise the money for adaptive bikes. 

So I put together a funding packet that was my step by step process and many funding sources for them to reach out to. 

Many years went by and over time I realized there was nothing out there that could help these families learn about all of this free money out there for them. I decided to take that funding packet and that was a 30 page document and expanded it to a 300 plus page book with over 200 funding sources.  

When my book was finally done I decided to give it away free in order to help the families that needed it the most. 

In addition to giving my book away for free I was also always helping families through phone calls to give them my personal advice. It was one phone call in particular that changed everything for me. It was a mom who had seen a TV show called, HGTV’s Fixer Upper where there was a family (the Copp family) with 2 boys with disabilities, they got their home renovated and made fully accessible from Chip and Joanna Gaines with the help of Tim Tebow and his foundation.   

I met this family at a Disability Expo in 2017 where I was doing a workshop and a one on one meet and greet to sit with me and make a funding plan. I sat down with the Copp family and they asked me to help them raise over $100,000 to make their home accessible. I was a bit taken back, that was the most anyone has ever asked me to help them raise. 

So we continued on to make a funding plan. Melissa got one of my books and we worked on ways she could raise money to make this happen. She was fully armed with new knowledge on how to make that happen and boy she sure did! 

Melissa did not take no for an answer, it was quite the journey but she was successful and she got the home of their dreams for their boys. For the first time in their lives the boys were able to use their wheelchairs and get through any room in their own home. Now that is an achievement and it all started with my teaching Melissa how to use my book. 

I try to help parents all the time, but this one phone call changed everything. This mom called me from Texas, she said I want to be the next Melissa Copp. She said I want a fully accessible home for my son. 

I explained that this was not possible, this was a once in a lifetime for Melissa and that you would most likely never get a full home renovation funded by one organization. But I said you could get one room funded at a time until you got the house completed. So that is what she did, last time I spoke to her she raised over $38,000 and was moving on to the next room. I have no doubt she will be completely successful. 

There was one other thing that she told me on that phone call that day that I couldn't stop thinking about. She said that the social worker at the hospital handed her a book and she was told that is a resource book to help you get your son what he needs, she was sitting there in the NICU with her two day old baby boy and was handed this pamphlet type book that had nothing in it to help them. She said if she was handed my book it would have changed their lives, they would not have gone through a lifetime of financial stress, almost losing everything. 

It was at that moment I realized I needed to come up with a way to help more families, more than one at a time. There are millions of children with disabilities that need my help, so I realized I needed to come up with a way to help so many more. 

That is when I decided to form The Funding Project in order to help those millions of children, one hospital or group at a time. 

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