Senior Audrey Winkelsas, whose 24-hour attendant care was cut off when she turned 21 in October, has had this Medicaid benefit restored.
Winkelsas has spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, and needs around-the-clock care to attend school. During spring 2014, she created a change.org petition that garnered about 7,570 signatures to help raise awareness.
She announced on the site Sunday that her care was reinstated.
“Last week, I received the news that I will be receiving 24/7 care for the 2014-2015 academic year that will enable me to complete my undergraduate degree,” she posted on the change.org site.
According to Florida’s Medicaid provider handbook, necessary services like 24-hour care are suspended after a person turns 21. Last spring, Winkelsas’s mother, Keely Winkelsas, stayed in Miami to ensure that her daughter could finish her studies.
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During her first two years at UM, four different attendants, who worked 12-hour shifts at a time on different days of the week, looked after Winkelsas as she completed her studies.
Winkelsas is studying biochemistry in the hopes of finding a cure for spinal muscular atrophy, the condition she was diagnosed with when she was seven months old.