Cathy Turnel carries on normally

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Cathy Irene Turnel lives life to the fullest in spite of the fact that she does everything in a motorized chair.

Turnel, 52, was born with soft bones that break easily. She said that her parents didn’t allow her to go to school because, &uot;doctors told them that if I got knocked down my bones would break.&uot;

She didn’t begin school until the age of 10 at Woodrow Wilson, a school for the handicapped where she could learn a trade.

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&uot;I went there until I was 20 and was able to go to work at Tidewater Occupational Center,&uot; she said. &uot;I worked there for 10 years and later went to work at Elevare.

She could walk some, but at the age of 40, she developed osteoporosis and was no longer able. She also suffers from lymphedema, which causes extreme swelling in her legs, forcing her to have to wear bandages around them most of the time.

However, with these disadvantages Turnel still cares for herself, does all of her shopping, conducts business wherever she has to, and can go wherever she needs to like any walking person

She is now on Medicare and Medicaid and has a woman to come to her home about four days a week to clean.

Turnel said that she was in a wheelchair until about two years ago when she got the motorized chair. She was told that the chair is capable of going up to 7 mph and she has traveled as much as three miles at one time. However, she does go at least one mile a day. The chair is able to travel up small hills on the sidewalk and can maneuver across limited rough surfaces and rocks.

Turnel said her favorite thing to do when she has spare time is to oil paint and cross-stitch.

&uot;Sometimes I get stares, but I want to tell those who are handicapped not to be afraid to go out in public. If people stare at you, just ignore them. That is the only way that you can live as normal a life as possible,&uot; she said.

Turnel is the daughter of Evelyn Benton of Whaleyville, and she has two brothers and three sisters.

I’m still blessed to be able to get around as I do,&uot; she said.