Hampton woman paralyzed in crash offers help to hurricane's disabled victims

By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
September 05. 2017 8:03PM

Anita Conant made a substantial donation to help those with disabilities affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Courtesy)

HAMPTON — Anita Conant knew she had to do something.

Paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak after a terrible accident in 2005, the 59-year-old Hampton woman feared for the disabled victims left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic floods that have ravaged parts of Texas.

Hoping to make a difference, Conant recently donated $10,000 to the Houston Center for Independent Living.

“I know first-hand how hard it is being handicapped, so I wanted to help them,” she said through her husband, Jim, who is able to read her lips.

Jim said that like many people, his wife was moved by the news footage from Houston. In particular, he said, she noticed people in wheelchairs with the water halfway up their chairs and people in hospital beds that had water almost to the top of their mattresses.

He said people have a tendency to overlook the disabled, including the government, and he recalled the tragic stories that emerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the victims with disabilities who were never rescued because adequate evacuation plans weren’t in place.

Anita has been on a mission to help others as a way to show her appreciation for the outpouring of support she received following her accident, in which she suffered a severed spine when the car she was sitting in while stopped at a red light was hit from behind by a truck.

Jim said his wife has touched the lives of many people who have faced life-changing challenges “and for this she gets a tremendous amount of gratitude.”

Jim said the Houston Center for Independent Living is a 40-year-old nonprofit that has helped more than 1,800 people move out of nursing homes and into home to live independently.

“They helped many disabled people who were brought to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and assisted them with the many needs associated with their conditions. They are now helping many of their own disabled citizens in Houston that have been brought to the many shelters,” he said.

The Houston Center for Independent Living is located at 6201 Bonhomme Road, Suite 150 South, Houston, Texas, 77036.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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