BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo Public school teacher is fighting for her independence. La’Quisha Pompay was an innocent bystander when she was struck in the spine by a stray bullet during a shooting on Buffalo’s East Side, but she has made the most of her life.
Pompay made a vow to herself when doctors told her she was paralyzed from the waist down to live life to the fullest.
Its been 10 years since the day she was hit and paralyzed by a stray bullet. It’s something she says she’ll never forget. Pompey said, “I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know I was shot. I didn’t know what was going on.”
But she says she doesn’t feel anger about what happened.Instead to her, it was a new beginning. She said, “That day was a rebirth for me as far as getting my life on track, and basically living a whole new way.”
Pompey, 25, is a motivational speaker, a Teacher’s Assistant for students with special needs.She wants to have her own preschool class in in the Buffalo Public School district one day.
She says she knows there are still challenges ahead for her. She said, “Challenges of being in a wheelchair include gaining your full independence.”
Pompey says her daily commute isn’t easy. After school she picks up a bus off of East Ferry Street. That bus takes her to East Utica Street, at which point she picks up a train to her home off of Allen Street. She said all of this adds extra time and exhaustion to her daily life.
She said, “If I had a car, I could just jump in my car and go.”
Now shes taking a second shot at a national contest that could win her a specially equipped mini-van. The contest is part of National Mobility Awareness Month and Main Mobility, which sells wheelchair vans and accessible transportation, has rallied around her cause.
She said, “In a sense, my independence was taken away from me. If I wasn’t shot that night, I’m pretty sure things would be different.”
The van would allow Pompey to easily enter the vehicle and drive it while in her wheel chair. But this van would cost her between $50 and $60 thousand dollars.
And even if she doesn’t win, she said she’s still appreciative for what she has. She said, “It helped me to become more appreciative of the things that you do have. Because there is always someone that is in a worse predicament than you are.”
To help Pompey, you can vote for her through this contest. To learn more about her story and to vote, head to this website.