OTTUMWA — Rainy days and Mondays wouldn't get Shannon Terrell down. Not on the day he was getting one of the best gifts of his life.
A severe diabetic, Terrell works at Tenco while battling his disease. Once an active bicyclist, a loss of vision from the diabetes forced him off the roads.
Monica VanGalder, a targeted case manager at Southeast Iowa Case Management, has been working with Terrell for five years, and she has seen the dramatic changes in his health and wellness. Over time, she says, he has lost weight and has gone from four insulin shots each day to none.
"But because of his diabetes, he has lost much of his sight," VanGalder explained. "He rode his bike all over — he was a man about town. When his vision began to slip, we knew he needed the ability to do what he loves to do."
That's where Tenco's DreamWeavers stepped in. DreamWeavers exists to offer people with disabilities the financial support they need to see their dreams become reality. Funds for the DreamWeavers program are solicited and managed through the Tenco Foundation. Many are practical needs like furnishings for an apartment or trips to visit family, but then there are fun, exciting moments like Monday.
Partnering with DreamWeavers and Josh Gettings at Riverside Cyclery, the solution was found to get Terrell back on the road safely — a dual, side-by-side bicycle that he can ride with a sighted rider.
"I went on the Internet, and they were really expensive," said DreamWeavers committee member Leisa Walker. "Our cap is $1,000 per client, so I just started searching. That's when I found this bike, designed for those with disabilities or older people. It's so much fun to see him so happy."