HANOVER- Back in 2011 I brought you a story about Andy Barlow. You learned of how Barlow, who suffers from Spina Bifida, goes about his daily work with the help of crutches, a wheelchair, his four-wheeler and the help of friends who drive him around. In the past couple years, Barlow has lost strength and mobility in his legs and now is confined to his wheelchair and it’s posing new challenges for him, and he is humbly seeking help from those who are willing to help.
You see, Barlow lives in the house where he grew up, the same house that was built in the late 1800s. Barlow has shut off the entire upstairs and lives in a couple rooms on the first floor to help save on heat, but the problem remains of his heating source and the age of the home.
You see, his home is uninsurable due to the age and his wood stove and only heat source, is located in the cellar. For any other person, the location wouldn’t be an issue, but for Barlow, he has to climb out of his wheelchair several times a day and crawl down over the cellar stairs to tend to the fire. Then, the crawls back up the stairs and muscles his way back into his chair.
“It’s pretty tiring,” stated Barlow. “And, my arms and shoulders take a beating having to go through that motion so many times a day.”
Like I previously stated, Barlow is a very humble man who keeps to himself and would prefer to do things himself and not ask for assistance. He is very active in the outdoors and continues to hunt, work up his own firewood and is a member of the Maine Adaptive Ski Team.
Over the last few years, between Barlow’s health deteriorating and that of the old homestead, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to maintain what he has.
“This old place doesn’t have the best insulation,” stated Barlow. “So I go through a lot of wood. Last year was so cold I went through almost 12 cord. That’s a lot of trips up and down the stairs. Not to mention having to work it up from my wheelchair.”
Recently, a non-profit group, HelpHOPELive, set up an account to help Barlow raise money for a new home that would be more suitable for his needs.
“Our mission is to provide Andy with an appropriate home, one that is both affordable and acceptable to Andy. Affordable meaning, Andy will have the ability to maintain and meet the long-term financial requirements (taxes, heat, electricity, upkeep, etc.).”
The group’s original goal was to have a new home for Barlow built before January of 2015, but with that deadline approaching, it looks like Barlow will have to spend another winter in his deteriorating farmhouse, scooting up and down the stairs to keep the place warm.
HelpHOPELive stated, “To help offset this expense, a fundraising campaign in Andy’s honor has been established by us. We are a trusted nonprofit organization that has been providing community-based fundraising guidance to patients and their families for more than 30 years. All donations are tax-deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Northeast Catastrophic Illness Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for illness-related expenses only.”
Currently, there is a $40,000 gift goal to provide Barlow with a new home, of which, $3,600 has been raised to date. If you or someone you know would like to help ease Barlow’s burden, please consider donating. Once funds are raised, plans will begin to take shape to build a 24×32 ranch-style home with an open floor plan on Barlow’s property. Volunteers will also be needed to conduct the work.
If you would like to help bring peace of mind to Barlow, please visit https://m.helphopelive.org/campaign/5346?3.8.757 and click on the DONATE NOW tab. When the time comes to commence building, donations of time, labor and materials will also be appreciated.