More than 20 years after a hitman’s bullet pierced her neck and left her paralyzed from the waist down, Heather Grossman said she now faces another threat to her life as her family’s business closes its doors.
The income from that sandal business had been funding the around-the-clock nursing assistance the Arizona woman has needed since the 1997 shooting, as the U.K. Daily Mail reported.
Grossman explained that she has weathered a great deal and defied the odds over the past two decades but believes that if she is sent to a nursing facility she will be dead within months.
She was initially not expected to survive the devastating injuries she sustained in the shooting, which was carried out on orders from her first husband, Ron. He is now serving a life sentence in a Florida prison.
Her second husband, John, was grazed when she was shot just months after they married. Reports indicate he later became abusive toward his disabled wife.
He allegedly slapped, taunted and abused her with behavior that included throwing dog feces at her and smearing food on her face.
Since then, she has required 24-hour-a-day medical care to monitor her ventilator and numerous other factors in the complicated process of keeping her alive.
“Any minute I could have a plug come off meaning I can’t breathe, or I develop mucus, and I could die,” she said.
Her healthcare providers also have to check on her neck brace regularly and clean her lungs on a regular basis — sometimes more than a dozen times a day.
“It’s not comfortable,” Grossman said. “You get used to it over time, but the first time I was ever ‘suctioned’ I thought I was going to throw up, and you still get that feeling sometimes.”
Unless she can raise an extra $8,000 per month, however, she won’t even have access to the personal care she requires. Since her father died recently, she said her mother has had to shutter the family business and she can no longer afford the nursing service.
“But now that my dad is gone … I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. “My dad was really the savior who got things done. He was a father to my kids, and the sandal business paid for my medical fees. When he got sick, his cancer quickly spread from his lungs to his brain. Within five or six months, you couldn’t even ask him a question, he didn’t know where he was.”
She said her mother is “not in a good way,” adding that she wishes she “wasn’t a big burden” to her family.
Though she qualifies for state-assisted care, it only covers about half of every day. At any moment without direct care, she said her condition could deteriorate quickly and lead to her death.
An online fundraiser has been established with the goal of supplementing the cost of her nursing care.
[Featured image: Heather Grossman, Facebook]