On May 10, 2003 Tommy Grieco was in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He spent 2 months in the hospital and rehab learning how to adjust to a life turned upside down.
Tommy has been an artist at the Pajama Factory for many years and recently, other tenants began to notice that his wheelchair was showing signs of age—unsurprising considering it was the same chair he had purchased right after his accident 13 years ago. The tires were bare; the brakes didn’t work and couldn’t be repaired; his chair back pad was missing and he was susceptible to pressure sores; the front wheel bearings and much of the hardware was rusted throughout making his chair difficult to adjust. Tommy’s insurance company refused to cover the cost of a new chair that would allow him the ability to enjoy life more fully – a life that offered him full mobility and would allow him to enjoy the outdoors – one that could make all the difference in the world to him.
A resident at the Pajama Factory began an online fundraiser and, within a few days, 127 friends and factory co-tenants had donated $5950 not only covering the cost of a new chair, but also helping provide Tommy with other items to improve his life, including a new shower bench and an updated ramp for his home. The fundraiser was a heartwarming testament to the strength of the Pajama Factory community: A lot of people care about each other here.
Here is Tommy’s story in his own words.