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Fishers mom frustrated over yearlong delay for son's custom wheelchair

Jacob Dooley's family ordered a custom wheelchair over a year ago, but they're still waiting for it to arrive.

FISHERS, Ind. — Every day when Christa Dooley's son, Jacob, comes home from school, she hopes to have good news for him regarding his long-awaited wheelchair.

Wednesday was not that day.

"It just doesn't make sense that it takes so long for something he needs so badly," she told 13News.

Jacob is 3 years old and lives with cerebral palsy.

"He can't talk or walk or sit on his own, but he can smile," said Dooley.

The custom wheelchair his family ordered from National Seating and Mobility more than a year ago is going to fit his specific needs. It would have been his first wheelchair. But because of the delays, his family was forced to raise hundreds of dollars for a used temporary medical stroller. A stroller that's uncomfortable for him to sit in for long periods of time.

Credit: WTHR
Jacob has been using a used temporary medical stroller while he waits for his new wheelchair.

It also creates more difficulty for his parents to care for him.

"I've multiple times thrown my back out picking him off the ground. It would be nice to wheel him from here to the kitchen for dinner," said Dooley.

Dooley has reached out to the company several times for an update, but was given the runaround.

"I've called and called and called and been told the same thing and been told we are waiting for the manufacturer. We are waiting for the insurance. Each step has been kind of waiting," said Dooley.

She's not the only one who may be going through this. Supply chain issues have possibly impacted thousands of people.

One local expert with Rehab Medical said this has been the most challenging year for the wheelchair industry, due to the supply chain challenges and the continued fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. They said it might not get better until at least the middle of next year. 

Credit: WTHR
Christa Dooley and her son, Jacob.

Dooley said this whole ordeal left her feeling frustrated.

"With him not being able to help himself, I want to be able to help him any way I can, and I feel helpless," she said.

Helpless but not defeated, she won't stop until she finally sees Jacob come off his bus in his brand new wheelchair.

"We wait. That's all we can do. We wait and we make it and hope this thing holds on until we get this chair," Dooley said.

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