Group Raises Awareness On Developmental Disabilities Funding

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Buttoning his shirt is something 33-year-old Stephen Lee can't do. He lives with mental and physical disabilities that require him to have around the clock care, something that his aging parents simply cannot give him.

"It just makes me more fearful that his program is going to be cut. And then there we are. There's just him and me," said Mary Jo Lee, mother.

Lee spoke to hundreds of people on Friday that gathered in Wichita, hoping to raise awareness on developmental disabilities funding issues. She talked about the need to share their stories with lawmakers, to put faces to the invisible Kansans.

"If there's somebody who's willing to speak out, to stand up for them and say, look these are the folks that are being affected. They're just going to be left out there," said Lee.

More than 300 Kansans living with developmental disabilities depend on funds Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to cut for the 2012 budget.

"When they see they're voting on dollars, it's dollars for budget. When they get to know people who are touched by those dollars, it's meeting the need," said Ron Pasmore, KETCH President.

Advocates at the event said they just want to give those with disabilities, a way to live their life. They also urged participants to write to lawmakers to put faces to the issues.

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