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Disabled mom needs help learning to drive

Editor’s note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency who could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.

This mother, separated from her developmentally disabled son for nearly two years, has made positive changes amid misfortune. Funds pledged for a local driver-education program would pave the woman’s way to seeing her son more often.

Developmentally disabled herself, the 49-year-old woman never learned to drive. For the past year, she has been saving to take classes and get her license, but she can put aside only $25 per month toward the $610 course fee. A patient volunteer could help teach her to drive. The woman has some experience behind the wheel but needs more practice, says staff of Living Opportunities in Medford.

Greater independence has been this mother’s goal since new property managers issued a no-cause eviction from the only home her 24-year-old son had ever known. She lived in a homeless shelter for several months while arriving at the difficult decision that the best place for her son would be a local foster home. Depressed, she was morbidly obese, diabetic and had severe knee issues.

Determined to make the best of her situation, the woman took control of her health, shedding almost 100 pounds. She started making friends and found a room for herself in a couple’s Medford residence through contacts with Jackson County Self Advocates.

Caseworkers have helped the woman check into classes at Southern Oregon Driver Education. For countless hours, she has studied the drivers’ manual but has been unable to pass the online pretest. She believes that hands-on driver training will help her pass the written exam and obtain her license.

To help, call Rachel Rawlins at 541-772-1503.