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“The Marin Center for Independent Living has been a huge comfort!”

by Nicole Follin

Nicole Follin

Nicole Follin

When I was 19, I was an honor roll student in my sophomore year of college at Virginia Tech. Without any warning I had a brain hemorrhage that left me in a coma for 3½ weeks. It turns out I had been a "walking time bomb" since birth. I had what is called an arterial venous malformation (AVM) -- a cluster of deformed arteries that is a mass of tangled knots. When I was 19, these tangled knots started erupting. The operation that followed removed the cluster and now I have hemi-paralysis. Nothing was broken, but my nerves don’t respond on my right side. It is like a stroke.

I moved to San Francisco after my accident, eventually into my own apartment, and then I moved to Marin County because the warmer weather is better for my functioning. I got involved in the Disabled Students Program at the College of Marin. In 1999, I got my Associates of Arts degree in art. I enjoy making clay and bronze sculptures.

The Marin Center for Independent Living has been a great resource for me because of the many different services that they provide. When I needed an attendant, I used their Attendant Referral Registry; when I needed housing, I searched their housing list; when I had problems with Social Security benefits after I got a job at the gallery at the College of Marin, I got counseling at the Marin Center for Independent Living; when I needed a shower bench, grab bars and steel plates to protect my doors, once again they came to the rescue. MCIL helped me get bull frogs (shock absorbers) for my wheelchair. Even when I was trying to get a curb cut made next to the bus stop at the College of Marin, their advocates assisted me in getting the curb cut on the pedestrian crossing in order for me to be safe. It is a tremendous comfort to be able to come to MCIL because whatever my stressors are, I can come there and find assistance.