WINCHESTER, Calif., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2001, Debra Eggeman-Steffen joined the military, seeking a better life for her daughter and herself. She wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, but early test scores revealed she'd be more fitting as a helicopter mechanic. One night while on base patrol Steffen stepped into broken pavement, injuring her ankle. Working through the pain, Steffen managed to finish her shift. Later that week she even participated in a hike, but the ankle continued to cause pain and what was once thought to be only a sprain had become a serious condition. Surgery only caused more aggravation.
Discharge from active duty was inevitable and Steffen suddenly found herself wheelchair-bound with no income. "Those were tough days, and getting used to being in a wheelchair was difficult as I'd always been athletic," Steffen remarked.
During the next few years things got worse. Steffen was in chronic pain and developed tremors in her hands that made even the simplest everyday tasks difficult. "It became difficult do just about everything," said Steffen. "I was really depressed." During another hospitalization, Steffen learned about an arts & crafts class available within the VA facility. "I enjoyed making crafts as a child so I decided to give it a try," added Steffen. Her doctor wrote a consult for her to attend the class, and arts & crafts became just the therapy she needed. "Working on the kits saved my life, because the challenge of putting things together pulled me out of my negativity. I began focusing on what I could accomplish instead of what I couldn't. I've completed many kits over the years and can honestly say those kits gave me my life back," Steffen said.
Since 1971, HHV has donated over 27 million free arts & crafts kits to VA and military hospitals worldwide. For more information visit www.hhv.org or call (888) 567-VETS.
SOURCE Help Hospitalized Veterans