Man battling illness prepares for the future with wheelchair ram - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Man battling illness prepares for the future with wheelchair ramp

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Jeff Allenton needs a wheelchair ramp due to debilitating illness Jeff Allenton needs a wheelchair ramp due to debilitating illness
CHATTAROY, Wash. -

These days Jeff Allenton only takes an outdoor stroll in his power chair. If he's feeling healthy, he can get around on foot inside his Chattaroy mobile home, but within the next few months he'll likely be reduced, permanently to his chair.

But here's the problem: he doesn't have a ramp to get his power chair in and out of his home.

Allenton was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, a terminal illness, in 2011. Since then he's slowly lost mobility, and doctors say he'll likely die in the next 5 years.

"I know the path I'm heading down," Allenton said. "And I've accepted that."

But the 54-year-old, who lives alone, hasn't accepted his inability to get around.

"I want my independence back," he said.

Independence in the form of a ramp that would allow Allenton to get around. He moved into his new home a couple weeks ago, and until Wednesday, his power chair sat in his shed, which means he hardly left the house.

He managed to remove the chair with a thin piece of wood he worried wouldn't hold. But that won't be a permanent solution when his mobility finally fails him.

"What I really just need is a permanent ramp," he said.

Allenton's battle has been far from easy. He says he hopes he doesn't make it until the end of the disease, when his body will likely fail but his mind will remain cognizant of what is happening.

Yet his faith remains strong and his attitude positive, because everyday counts when the end may not be far from sight.

"Live each day like it's your last," he said. "Because none of us are promised tomorrow."

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