PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s supposed to be a joyous time of year, but for one South Jersey man, it’s been a struggle to simply get out of his own house. The man’s one holiday wish is to get to church for Christmas, and a loved one is turning to 3 On Your Side for help.
It’s these special moments with family Howard Mattson, and his wife Sue, appreciate most around the holidays.
“It’s important to have them here for Christmas,” said Howard.
But it’s not all happiness for this Malaga, New Jersey couple. Howard suffers from a rare muscle disease.
He’s stranded at home, unable to get to church for Christmas, because his current wheelchair is falling apart.
“It’s broken down numerous times,” said Howard.
“The chair can’t lift him anymore without slipping back,” said Sue.
Howard’s been trying to get a new one for nearly a year from Garden State Scooters, through his Medicare insurance. He was even pre-approved by an agency that works with Medicare, and Garden State Scooters said he would get a new wheelchair. But they recently gave him bad news.
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“They said, if you can put up $14,000, we’ll build a chair for you. But I don’t have $14,000 to put up for a chair,” said Howard. Then Medicare would probably reimburse him, but only part of the money.
When the pastor at Howard’s church, Eric Hoheisel, found that Howard may have to miss Christmas service he turned to CBS-3 for help.
“We were looking for a solution to help,” said Rev. Hoheisel.
Eyewitness news immediately reached out to Garden State Scooters to get answers. They tell us they did originally plan to get Howard a new motorized wheel chair; however, they say numerous struggles to obtain reimbursements from Medicare have made it impossible for them to proceed with his order.
“I don’t understand how someone can write you off after 11 months and say oh sorry, good bye,” said Sue.
But when we told Garden State Scooters Howard’s wish of getting to Christmas mass, the company did want to help, and offered him a loaner chair to use throughout the holidays.
“What a great thing to be able to do, and I’m thankful for your intervention,” said Eric.
This is the Christmas miracle everyone in the family was hoping for. The symbol of joy, happiness, and the ability to now get out and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
“I just think it’s remarkably uplifting when we were so down, and feeling so crushed, and feeling so abandoned that somebody said you’re not, you’re not. We can do this for you,” said Sue.
“This is great. Great,” said Howard.
Medicare is currently unable to comment about Howard’s situation.
Howard is hoping a long term solution will come through someday soon.
Reported by Chris May, CBS3