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Staten Island Mom At Odds With Neighborhood Over Wheelchair Lift For Daughter

Maria Stasinski Says It's A Case Of NIMBY In Her Front Yard
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Front door lift

Four-year-old Giuliana suffers from cerebral palsy and is pulled in her heavy wheelchair up and down her front steps every day by her mother. (Photo: CBS 2)

Emily Smith headshot Emily Smith
Emily Smith joined CBS 2 in April 2011 as a general assignment...
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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s a heartbreaking battle involving a 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and her right to a wheelchair lift.

A Staten Island condo board isn’t allowing a front-door lift. The homeowner is calling it discrimination, reports CBS 2’s Emily Smith.

Giuliana relies mainly on two things — her wheelchair and her mom.

Maria Stasinski does the heavy lifting about six times a day and wants to install a $5,000 lift that was donated to her. She’d like it to go along the side of her front entrance.

“The lift is gonna go behind the bush where it’s not even visible to anyone,” she said.

But the condo board at the Richard Mews Complex in the Bullshead neighborhood won’t allow a lift at this point. Approval has only been given for Stasinski’s backyard entrance.

The Americans with Disabilities Act says as long as there is a ramp allowed it’s ok, but the family said it is more of a side entrance than a back entrance and it’s too difficult.

Neighbors, who were reluctant to go on camera, told Smith the condo unit’s attorney needs to know more about how the device will work, since it’s not just a ramp, but an actual lift. And that’s not their only concern.

“It’s not a vanity thing. It’s a safety thing,” one neighbor said.

Stasinski said she thinks it’s both discrimination and neighbors not wanting to ruin the uniform look of their development.

“With a 20-percent chance of survival, I begged her. If she survives I’d be her legs until she is able to walk and her voice until she is able to speak,” Stasinski said.

All the while taking the hard road until she gets her.

Stasinski said if she has to file a discrimination lawsuit she will. Smith called the attorney representing the complex, but did not get a response.

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