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Opportunity arrives to fill specific needs

EDITOR'S NOTE: Light One Candle is an annual series that focuses on an those who could use a helping hand during the holiday season. The series continues until Dec. 23. To see previous stories, go to www.mailtribune.com/holidayneed.

Football tickets, a police scanner, a golf cart and some help with travel expenses are the needs of these developmentally delayed Light One Candle candidates nominated by Living Opportunities Inc.

Eric and Jason experience the effects of moderate developmental disabilities, but the most important thing to know about these native Oregonians is that they are ardent football fans.

The two have worked hard to gain independence and today live in their own apartments with some support services provided by Living Opportunities staff.

Excitement erupts from their apartments as they take turns hosting each other for Oregon football games.

Attending a Civil War game in person would be a dream come true, but while Eric and Jason both hold part-time jobs, their income is barely sufficient to meet daily living expenses. There is no room in tight budgets for tickets to a Beaver/Duck game or to pay for travel expenses. Donations toward this goal would score a touchdown in their hearts.

Janet, 69, grew up in Fairview, the now-closed state institution in Salem. Despite her daunting beginnings, she has a sparkling personality, an infectious laugh and a lively interest and curiosity about the world around her. Janet enjoys interacting with others in her quiet, sweet voice. Her greatest passion in life is being out in her community, seeing friends, drinking coffee and watching children play in the park.

Janet lives on a very limited fixed income in a Living Opportunities group home in the Lone Pine area of Medford. When she moved to her new neighborhood, she really enjoyed going for walks, watching kids play and visiting with her neighbors. She is still mobile with the use of a walker but recently has become more unstable, and this has caused a curtailment of her activity.

She really misses her routine, and having access to a small mobile conveyance, such as a golf cart, would brighten her days and enrich the quality of her life.

Calvin, 55, has lived what can only be described as a very tough life. He grew up in an abusive family situation and spent time warehoused in a large institution. When he returned to his home community, he was abused by a trusted support person.

Still, Calvin persevered until a stroke two years go resulted in some mobility and speech problems. He has made a partial recovery but now spends most of his time at home, following the day's events as they unfold on his police scanner.

His support staff at Living Opportunities report that his analog scanner will soon be obsolete as the police switch to an all-digital format in January.

Calvin lives on a fixed income, barely making his basic living expenses. He does not have the means to purchase a new scanner. His already-restricted life will become very bleak in January unless a kind donor gives him a digital scanner or the funds to purchase one (around $400).

The other item that would truly light up Calvin's life is a visit to the seaside. Calvin yearns to see the ocean. A gift of two nights' lodging, transportation and meals would allow Calvin to experience a once-in-a-lifetime dream trip.

If you can help any of these Light One Candle candidates, call Jim Gochenour at 541-772-1503.