For one mother, much more at risk during blackouts

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Calls to LIPA did not alleviate the concerned mother’s fears. While talking to power authority officials, Oderwald was told that while a note can be made of her situation, that she would simply have to make other arrangements. “I was patient and understanding I think, maybe until about a week and a half in. There should be some set of priorities, especially for people who are dependent on electricity for equipment and things like that.”

“There has to be some sort of revamping for that,” Oderwald continued.” I really hope that this incident gives [LIPA] pause and allows them to overhaul their system.”

With LIPA trucks still nowhere to be seen, the family relocated again, this time back to East Meadow to stay with James and Karla Oderwald, Thomas’s brother and sister-in-law.

Violet began her treatments as scheduled, and the family moved one final time, back to Queens, to be nearer to the hospital. Finally, on day 15, LIPA trucks arrived at the Oderwald’s home to correct their power line. The following day, the family moved back home. Through the hospitality offered by friends and family, Oderwald said they were able to keep Violet healthy. “We had tons of support with family and friends,” she said. “So by no means do I take it for granted that we were fortunate, but at the same time, it shouldn’t have been this long, and LIPA should have taken into account people who have special needs.”

Violet, who attends McVey Elementary School, was diagnosed with leukemia in June of 2011. At the time, Oderwald was seven-months pregnant with her second child. Presently, she said her daughter is in the “maintenance phase” of her treatment, which includes daily and monthly cycles for various medications. “She’s been doing very well, and it’s attributed to the fact that [doctors] caught the cancer as it was still manifesting,” said Oderwald.

While it was an extremely hectic two weeks, Oderwald said she learned a great deal regarding her support system of friends and family. “This brought our extended families a lot closer together,” she said. “We were there for each other.”

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