Sixty-two year old Melvin Roggie knows the importance of persistence. For nearly thirty years, Melvin worked as an egg farmer on his family farm. Melvin loved the demands of physical labor and enjoyed helping his father manage the farm. He cherished his independence and took great satisfaction in caring for his family and the farm. But in his later years of life, Melvin suffered three strokes which left him wheelchair bound. However, never letting obstacles stand in his way, he was determined to gain back his independence.
It was through the support of his mother that Melvin began his long road to recovery. He became part of the Upstate Cerebral Palsy family when he began attending the Schoonmaker Day Habilitation program. Though the strokes left him with limited mobility, Melvin tackled his therapy with determination and diligence, realizing his many abilities. He has found immense joy in his therapeutic art classes and is extremely proud of making dog biscuits, which are donated to local non-profit organizations. Melvin has also benefited from additional therapeutic services offered at Schoonmaker Day Habilitation, including pottery classes, gardening and physical therapy, and his mobility has improved in the process. He especially enjoys sharing his love of farming with others while working in the Schoonmaker greenhouse, which contains adaptive equipment to assist individuals of all abilities in cultivating the plants.
The programs at Upstate Cerebral Palsy have given Melvin the freedom to explore new outlets for his creativity and emotions. Recently, Melvin lost his mother and was able to channel his grief and sadness into his art. The support of the Upstate Cerebral Palsy staff during this time in his life helped him to create something very beautiful out of a challenging moment in life.