Independence is all one Williston woman has ever wanted, and thanks to a life-changing piece of equipment that she received, she’s now able to do what she wants — when she wants to do it.
“I love my independence,” Sheryl Beard said.
Beard was only three years old when she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a congenital disorder that affects movement, muscle tone and posture.
“I have CP all through my body. I shake. I can’t talk that good,” she said.
She says having the disorder has held her back for much of her life.
“I always wanted to drive, and I did try to drive, but to me, the car is too powerful, too fast,” Beard said.
Determined to not let that stop her, she still managed to get around.
“When I was back home I used to walk everywhere,” she said.”Downtown. Back and forth to my apartment.”
After she moved here from California she began using the bus system, but she wasn’t all too happy about that.
“I told myself, if I could get a scooter I could be more independent,” she said.
And so, she did.
“It took me a couple years to get used to it, but I loved it,” she said.
Riding that for a little over four years, she was able to get back and forth to work, or wherever she needed to go, but that feeling of being independent was always cut short around the same time of the year.
“I could only use it from late spring to maybe early fall, but then I had to put it away,” Beard said.
Her sense of independence was stripped away time and time again, but this time she decided it was time for a change.
“We went on the internet to find another scooter, and we found this one,” Beard said.
The Q-Runner Electric Transport.
It looks like and acts just like a car, but isn’t.
“I got to get a license plate for the back of it, so it does need to be registered, but I don’t have to be licensed,” Beard said.
She says the scooter cost around $5,000, a price tag she wasn’t comfortable paying, but thanks to North Dakota Assistive, a non-profit that helps people across the state with disabilities, getting Beard that Q-Runner became reality.
“These devices, these little tools can help in so many ways,” North Dakota Assistive Executive Director Mike Chaussee said.
Beard says with North Dakota Assistive’s help, she’s now able to maintain her freedom all year round.
“Without them helping people with disabilities I don’t think we could be independent as we could so I really appreciate them,” Beard said.
North Dakota Assistive tells us they’re able to further assist people like Beard with community support and fundraising through Giving Hearts Day, which is Feb. 11.
You can help pitch in by clicking here.