Multiple NDAD programs help Grand Forks woman

NDAD and Anna Magnuson have been personally acquainted for at least several of Anna’s 29 years.

#CountMe4NDAD this Giving Hearts Day. Click this graphic to learn how.
“I’m very thankful we have a place like (NDAD) in town,” said Anna, a lifelong resident of Grand Forks, home to NDAD’s main office. “I’ve received help and guidance in many different aspects and ways.“
Anna has cerebral palsy.  She and her family knew since her childhood of NDAD’s charitable service to people with disabilities.  They never thought of using NDAD, though, “until our van went on the fritz a couple of times,” Anna recalled, chuckling.

Anna Magnuson with Eadynn, one of her service dogs
Several years ago, the Magnusons came to NDAD when their own accessible van’s wheelchair ramp wasn’t working correctly. To get by until it was corrected, Anna said, the family borrowed one of NDAD’s two accessible vans in Grand Forks for several scheduled trips, including a Fargo medical appointment. Borrowing the van “worked out really well,” Anna recalled.
When Anna had surgery in May 2016 and couldn’t be lifted easily during convalescence, she borrowed durable medical equipment at no cost from NDAD’s Healthcare Equipment Loan Program (HELP) to help keep the Magnuson house accessible for her.
Then, in 2018, Anna obtained a replacement power wheelchair through insurance.  With money provided mostly by NDAD, she added wheelchair equipment that allowed for additional adjustments, which improved her access to more of her surroundings, while still maintaining stability.
In turn, it reduced her need for assistance from her service dog or a reacher grabber tool, Anna said. Insurance would not cover the additional equipment, which made NDAD’s contribution that much more valuable, she said.  She was able to order the chair in June and received it in July.
“I’m very thankful,” she said, “because without (NDAD’s) help, I don’t think I would have been able” to afford the adjustment.
“It’s a big deal because Eadynn can pick up things off the floor and low shelves,” Anna said, referring to her golden retriever service dog.  “But for higher things. . . . it’s nice to not have to ask for help quite as much.

“I’m able to be so much more independent to reach things I couldn’t reach before,” Anna said. “So I’m very grateful. I knew it would be a big help, but I didn’t realize how much it would affect my life until after I started using it.”
Anna isn’t the only family member to have received help from NDAD. After having surgery, her grandmother borrowed a bed rail through the charity’s HELP program that enabled her to get in and out of bed more easily.
Anna is particularly pleased to deal with NDAD’s Grand Forks client services representative, Lora Machart.  “She is great to work with,” Anna said.

Anna's interest in animal nutrition
Eadynn is one of Anna's three dogs.
Anna lives with her parents, Steve and Kristi, and also has an older brother, Christopher.

Anne, whose favorite school subjects were math and science, originally wanted a career as a mechanical engineer. She’s taking a break for school now while working toward several certificates in an unrelated interest, animal nutrition.

“I may still pursue (mechanical engineering) later,” she said, “but at least for the time being, I’m really passionate about things to do with animals. And a lot of the animals that I’ve had growing up have had different health issues that were really helped by changing their diets and adding supplements and stuff like that. That’s what’s made me want to help other people.

"So I just decided, I do it anyway on my own; why not see if I can make it some sort of a career?”

Anna has had cats and several service dogs. Besides Eadynn, she has an older golden doodle service dog, Korban, 8; and a young Australian shepherd / border collie mix she’s in the process of training: Embryee, who turns 8 months old in January.
Click the #countme4NDAD graphic to learn how you can help make a difference.


Dean Knutson
Dean Knutson performs volunteer respite care visits in East Grand Forks, Minn., on behalf of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. The Grand Forks resident likes the fit, for several reasons. “I’ve been told I can talk,” he said, smiling. He says he’s a good listener, too – a key component of respite service. Knutson ...
view all success stories