HOW TO HELP
If you’d like to help the Costa family with a donation, share or words of support, visit gofundme.com//bwjcck
Eddie Costa has been confined to a wheelchair for more than a quarter of a century.
The Manteca native was rendered a quadriplegic after a diving accident on the Stanislaus River 30 years ago. Since then, his wife, Bridgett Costa, has provided most of the care, including lifting him from his bed to his chair and vice versa.
That strain has taken a toll on Bridgett’s body, and now it appears both Costas are in need of some assistance. Bridgett is scheduled to have surgery in two weeks to alleviate a condition believed to be brought on by years of strenuous lifting.
Regardless, she can no longer lift Eddie.
“It’s either we come over or he can’t get up. And if he’s up, he’ll start getting pressure sores from being in his chair too long. There are four of us to help,” daughter Jennifer Costa-Magud said of her siblings, “but it’s difficult because they have their own lives. We do what we have to do to make it work.”
For a permanent resolution, the Costa family has turned to its community for help, setting up a GoFundMe account to help raise money to purchase a lift.
The fund-raising goal has been set at $7,500, of which $4,000 will be used to purchase the bed lift. The other $3,500 will be used to fix Eddie’s power wheelchair, which stopped working on Friday. Thus far, the family says Medi-Cal and Medicare have been unwilling to run a diagnostic on the chair, let alone fix it.
The primary goal, though, is the money for the bed lift. Eddie has a push chair. What he no longer has is Bridgett’s brute strength.
“It was his only power chair, but he does have a push chair. We just need a way to get him up. That’s the main thing,” Costa-Magud said. “If we have to wait a couple of months to get a power chair done that’s fine. We’ll wait.”
Costa-Magud was only 2 when her father broke his neck after diving head-first into a shallow sandbar along the Stanislaus River, a popular place of water recreation and thrill-seeking for many in the Central Valley.
Eddie broke the fourth and fifth vertebrae that afternoon after misjudging the water’s depth and was completely paralyzed from the chest down.
Since then, she says Bridgett has been widely responsible for her 160-pound father’s care. While he’s been able to relearn a few basic skills, such as breathing and feeding himself, he’s relied on Bridgett and few others for transport and comfort care. Every day, Bridgett would position herself behind Eddie, grabbing hold of him around the chest and lifting him either into his chair or onto the bed.
“She’s pretty muscular from doing it all these years,” Costa-Magud said. “She usually needs a little help with his legs.”
It has taken a toll on her body, though. After feeling some discomfort, Bridgett visited her doctor who wasted no time scheduling her for a partial hysterectomy. She will have the surgery on July 30, Costa-Magud said, and there’s no telling how long her recovery will take. “One reason why she is going into surgery is all the heavy lifting,” she added.
As of press time, the Costa family had raised $330. Costa-Magud said they are considering other fund-raisers to help their father, including a drive-thru dinner and yard sale.
To help the Costa family with a donation, share or words of support, visit gofundme.com/bwjcck.
While she’d love to provide for all of her father’s medical needs, these expenses fall outside the family’s fixed budget.
Whether it comes to fruition or not, Costa-Magud said Eddie’s optimistic outlook will get the family through this latest challenge.
“He has never, since I can ever remember, ever said poor me, or said anything negative about being a quad and stuck in a wheelchair. … As kids we got to do everything with our dad that most kids do,” Costa-Magud wrote in an e-mail to the Bulletin. “We went fishing, camping, to amusement parks. He even “walked” me down the aisle when i got married.”
“… I, myself, do feel bad at times. Especially right now when I know we are up against a hurdle. But my dad still has his head high and knows someway it will all work out.”