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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 17, 2001

Advertiser Christmas Fund
Disabled man seeks way to beat heat

 •  Previous stories

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

"T.H.," a 55-year-old former construction worker paralyzed from the waist down for more than 32 years, extends his right arm to shake hands. There is absolutely no strength in his grip.

"It frustrates me when I do basic little things," said T.H., who suffered a broken neck in an auto collision in July 1969 that killed his brother.

"I can pull up my pants but it doesn't go up right," he said. "When I reach up or down for something, I don't have the power in my hands to hang on to it. I try to use two hands, but sometimes the item falls and I have to try to pick it up, which is just as hard."

How to make a donation
 •  Checks made payable to The Advertiser Christmas Fund should be mailed to
    Helping Hands Hawai'i
    P.O. Box 19155
    Honolulu, HI 96817
 •  Donations may also be dropped off at any First Hawaiian Bank branch.
 •  Anyone wishing to donate goods instead of money can do so at the Community Clearinghouse at 2100 N. Nimitz Highway near Pu'uhale Street. For details, call 536-7234.
T.H., however, is able to drive. He uses his palm to steer and his car is designed with hand-operated brakes.

"It's important for me to try and do things for myself," he said. "That way I don't feel helpless."

In November 2000, T.H. moved out of a public housing complex and into an apartment that had accommodations for disabled needs. The apartment in Pearl City, however, is humid all day.

T.H., who suffers from asthma, has a low tolerance for heat and perspires a lot. Heat exhaustion makes him uncomfortable, stressed and irritable.

T.H. would like an air conditioner for his apartment. "Heat really weakens me," he said. "A few weeks ago, a fan in my bedroom broke. It's really uncomfortable, even at night."

• • •

Previous stories

• Sunday, Dec. 16: Ex-con beachboy raising daughter
• Saturday, Dec. 15: Crowded studio houses teen mom, relatives
• Friday, Dec. 14: New bed is priority for family of four
 • Thursday, Dec. 13: Mother of three wants job to keep family from being homeless again
 • Wednesday, Dec. 12: Electric fan, microwave will help
 • Tuesday, Dec. 11: Vacuum sought for home of ailing child
 • Monday, Dec. 10: Household with seven children needs new refrigerator
 • Sunday, Dec. 9: Family lives in shed, seeks clothing
 • Saturday, Dec. 8: Children need bedroom furniture
 • Friday, Dec. 7: Stroke patient needs friend to get to therapy
 • Thursday, Dec. 6: Shriners patient needs shoes, transportation to appointments
 • Wednesday, Dec. 5: Clothing for sons welcome
 • Tuesday, Dec. 4: Ex-addict, abused wife reclaims life
 • Monday, Dec. 3: Disabled man seeks toy for grandson
 • Sunday, Dec. 2: Ailing son left family buried in bills
 • Saturday, Dec. 1: Woman says seventh child is chance to be good parent
 • Friday, Nov. 30: With its breadwinner laid off, family requests help for first time
 • Thursday, Nov. 29: Pacific immigrants struggle to stay here
 • Wednesday, Nov. 28: Couple forgo gifts, except for two keiki's
 • Tuesday, Nov. 27: Child's grave needs headstone
 • Monday, Nov. 26: Security officer, six children have to eat on floor
 • Sunday, Nov. $25: Holiday assistance badly needed this year