Client Gives Back Despite Mobilty Challenges
Young advocate with muscular dystrophy pays it forward for others
24-year-old Dimpal P. understands all the ups and downs of living with a debilitating diagnosis. She was born with muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass. Because Dimpal’s condition gradually limited her mobility and independent lung function, she now uses a wheelchair and relies on a tracheostomy tube and ventilator to breathe.
As you can imagine, bringing a ventilator with you everywhere you go—on wheels—is no small task. But Dimpal never let that stop her. Her parents have always been incredibly supportive of her and always encouraged her to do her best. And over and over again, Dimpal continued to make them proud, getting straight As all through grade school and graduating at the top of her high school class.
What made going to school possible
The mere thought of attending high school and making friends wouldn’t have been possible for Dimpal without daily nursing support. Her tracheostomy and ventilator present high-tech, complex care needs that can’t go unattended at any hour, and both of her parents work full-time outside the home. Dimpal’s BAYADA Nurses entered her life in 2009, when she had the tracheostomy tube inserted. They soon became her best friends as they accompanied her to classes through four years of high school in Belmont, NC. Dimpal explains, "Having great nurses by my side always gives me the confidence to focus on my goals and do my best. School has always been the most important part of my life. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I never let my disabilities limit what I can and cannot do.”
Taking her accomplishments to campus
Now a legal adult and high school graduate, Dimpal had another barrier to overcome. How was she going to attend college when it was too far from her family home to commute every day?
“A lot of people thought I could never go to college, but I’ve always pushed myself to do bigger and better things,” Dimpal says. It took some determination to make it all work, but together with her parents and BAYADA Nurses Dimpal figured out a way to live on campus four consecutive days a week, so she could attend classes in person with her peers.
“It would have been impossible to attend college without the 106 hours of nursing care that’s funded through the North Carolina Medicaid program,” Dimpal says. “I always want to take on new challenges and see how far I can go. A lot of people doubt me sometimes, and I love proving them wrong!”
And boy, did she prove the doubters wrong. Dimpal worked hard at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in economics. “My grades and my education are the accomplishments I’m most proud of,” she says firmly and without hesitation.
Paying it forward for others
Now an accomplished college graduate, it was time to make her mark on the world. What would Dimpal do with the knowledge she’d earned? Advocating for people like her seemed to be a natural fit.
Dimpal began by writing and submitting a short opinion piece to her local newspaper, the Gaston Gazette. She shared how her nurses enabled her to go to college and emphasized the importance of Medicaid funding for people like her who rely on home health care.
Instead of simply publishing the piece, the paper sent a reporter to her home, and her story made the front page!
Ever since, Dimpal has been an active advocate for home health care and fair pay for nurses through BAYADA’s Hearts for Home Care program. She does most of her advocacy work from home via emails, phone calls, town halls, and social media. But it’d be too easy for her to stop there. Dimpal was ready for the next challenge.
It took some doing, but in true Dimpal-style, she and her BAYADA Nurses found their way around some tricky transportation issues to attend Legislative Day at the state capitol in Raleigh, NC. There she enjoyed the comradery of dozens of other home care advocates and was able to meet her state legislators in person—adding her shining face and undeterrable grit to the story of how home health care helps to change people’s lives, every day.
Sharing her best life
“I keep a positive outlook on life because I know my condition could always be worse,” she says. “I’m thankful for everything that I can do, and I hope to be able to encourage others to live to their full potential.”
“I love being an advocate and letting my voice be heard,” Dimpal declares. “I love being able to share my story. I want to inspire others not to let their physical disabilities limit them. I want other people like me to see that they can overcome obstacles. I want everybody else to know that we can do lots of things despite our physical limitations. I want to make a difference.”