In July 2009, Scott broke his neck in a diving accident at the C3 level and was left completely paralyzed from the neck down with no movement or sensation. “As you can imagine, it has been a very challenging journey back to where I am today,” said Scott. “While I am still unable to move below the neck, my quality of life has greatly improved. One of the major improvements is due in part to the addition of Melanie, my helper monkey.”
“After being made aware of Helping Hands, I immediately recognized the benefit that a monkey like Melanie could provide someone in my situation,” Scott recalled. “Melanie was placed with me in September 2012 and has become an integral part of my life. She is able to assist with tasks I am no longer able to complete –scratching an itch on my face, repositioning my sip-and-puff wheelchair controller or positioning my water bottle straw in front of my mouth. Simple tasks that most people take for granted have become so important to my daily routine. Have you ever tried to sit still and ignore an itch? It’s not easy, and now I no longer have to wait for someone to scratch it for me. I have Melanie!”
“Perhaps most important, though, is the companionship and emotional lift she provides me,” said Scott. “She does not see the wheelchair, she does not see someone who can’t help himself, she sees a companion that she feels the need to keep clean through grooming and sit with for company. Whether we are watching TV together or sitting outside enjoying the sun, she is never more than a few feet away, always full of energy, ready to assist with what tasks I might need. She has further ignited the fire in me to regain use of my arms and hands so that I can one day assist her with her grooming!”
“I am extremely grateful to the staff and trainers at Helping Hands for their assistance in my recovery and the continued support they have shown me. Additionally, the organization is able to provide financial assistance towards Melanie’s care, which is crucial given my financial situation.”
Watch Scott and Melanie together in the short film, Scott and Melanie’s Story.