During the busiest months of the year, while people are trying to find the perfect holiday gift, Ireland D’Metayer is asking for only one thing: an electric scooter.
D’Metayer, who was born in Nassau, Bahamas, came to the United States with her family more than 42 years ago when she was about 10 years old. Her memories of the transition are blurry, but she remembers attending a private school, graduating from North Miami Senior High in 1986, and going off to Florida State University, where she planned to major in psychology.
But her education was abruptly halted when she got blood clots in both her legs and one of her arms. Her doctor advised her to go back to Miami and get them treated.
Although she didn’t go back to FSU, she did not give up on a career in medicine. After settling back in Miami, she studied and got certified as a medical assistant.
She then began working at Jackson Medical Hospital, and later transferred to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami as a medical assistant.
“I loved it,” said D’Metayer. “I learned so much and did so much. I assisted in surgeries and biopsies… I worked all over, and I was in demand.”
D’Metayer, a 52-year-old stroke survivor and the heart of her family, is hoping to get an electric scooter, which would be an improvement over her wheelchair. She said her wheelchair is too heavy to maneuver easily. She can move around her house better by getting on her hands and dragging her body around than by using the heavy wheelchair, especially going up and down the stairs, she said.
D’Metayer said it’s been hard for her to transfer from her bed to the wheelchair safely as her left side has been deteriorating since a series of strokes that began in 2007, shortly after the death of her mother.
The scooter would “improve Ireland’s mobility, maintain her independence and allow her to perform simple tasks in her home that many of us take for granted,” said Kenny Francois, a counselor at Miami-Dade County Disability Services, the agency that nominated D’Metayer for Wish Book.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Ireland for almost six years,” he said.
As a mother and head of her household, D’Metayer said she had trouble doing simple household chores, cleaning and cooking as well as personal routines such as brushing her teeth, taking a shower and getting up from her bed.