Securing a Sit-To-Stand Wheelchair for Trystan

Trystan in his new wheelchair in the standing position in front of his house.

At 20 years old, Trystan was in incredible pain. He had outgrown his wheelchair, and this was not only uncomfortable, but the odd position the chair forced him into caused his bone to move out of its hip socket. Trystan found only momentary relief from the pain when he was standing, but because Trystan has cerebral palsy, his muscles would not allow him to get himself into a standing position. To stand up, two people had to lift him into a strapped-in contraption, a process that took about 20 minutes, with a result that was often uncomfortable. Because workers were only available twice per day to help him, Trystan was required to remain standing for hours. He had little control over his life, his movements, or his ability to alleviate his pain on his own. It was becoming increasingly difficult to control bed sores, and doctors had concerns about permanent damage to his hip. To help with these issues, Trystan requested a sit-to-stand wheelchair from Family Care. The request was denied, so Trystan’s family contacted DRW and asked for help.

Jean Jarosh, a Family Care and IRIS Ombudsman at DRW, helped the family appeal the denial. Jean worked closely with the family and the Family Care team to attempt to informally resolve the issue. Ultimately, DRW was at Trystan’s side when a formal appeal in an administrative hearing was conducted. Program Attorney Melanie Cairns organized and presented the evidence, and Trystan provided testimony. The administrative law judge ruled in favor of Trystan’s request, and a custom sit-to-stand wheelchair was quickly ordered. The difference it has made to Trystan has been remarkable. He is now able to shift his body position as needed, and his level of pain has decreased significantly. There have been unexpected benefits, too. Because he can now talk with people at eye level, Trystan’s self-confidence has skyrocketed. Since he no longer must wait for workers to strap him into a standing device, he has much more freedom to move around. He loves talking with people; in fact, he is now booking speaking engagements on overcoming obstacles.

“Disability Rights Wisconsin was wonderful to work with and so helpful to our family in securing this wheelchair for Trystan. They took care of all the paperwork and set up our appointments with the judge. They just took everything off our plate, which was a huge relief! I now recommend Disability Rights Wisconsin to everyone I know who might be facing similar challenges. They were just a superb to work with.”

— Wendy, Trystan’s grandmother