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Lift Up Lonnie!

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”– Booker T. Washington

Since I am typically extremely long-winded on things, I will begin this page with a short, to the point explanation.

My good friend, Lonnie Hendrickson, has had an extremely challenging time for the better part of a year now, and it has only become more challenging as of the last couple months – from a simple back and knee injury, from which he was expected to heal almost completely from over time, to becoming completely paralyzed from about his middle chest, down.

We have no resources at hand to prepare his home so that he can function safely as a paraplegic when they release him from the hospital. Nor do we have any resources to help with other things he will need that insurance and assistance programs will not cover, or will take months to cover (long after he will actually need them).

We have created this page to help let people know, in more detail, exactly what we are needing help with.

To put it simply, we need help with just about everything. This is completely new territory for all of us, and was absolutely unexpected. Skilled labor, materials, equipment, professional care, transportation, and finances to pay for it all. Large or small, any amount of help is enormously appreciated!

That said, the long-winded me will continue below for those of you who would like more details. And, if you would like to help, feel free to contact me (G.R. Bliss) in any of the following ways:


The Reptile Bliss Contact Page

Phone: (865) 247-8095

Through a time that leaves him without, let’s band together and be Lonnie’s Legs.(continue for more details)


A while back, we started a small “Pay it Forward” campaign through our social media accounts and websites to help our friend who had become temporarily disabled and was getting near to zero help from his insurance.

At the time I posted that, there were some very specific needs that definitely exceeded the average person’s “pocket change” level of finances needed, but were also fairly doable with a modest amount of help. Some amazing people stepped up to help out, and we are more than grateful for that, though we never actually met our goals for that particular effort. In part, because we didn’t push it too much because we were trying to honor his desire for privacy, and him not wanting to “make a big deal about it just to take care of this little bump in the road”.

Well, the bump has unexpectedly grown… a LOT.

After several months of treatment, surgery, and being unable to get out of bed for more than a few minutes at a time for necessary things, he was showing some progress toward healing. Then, the infection set in. On January 21st 2019, just after 2 am, he realized he couldn’t feel anything below his chest. He called us, and 911, and was immediately transported to the hospital again.

The infection had damaged his spinal cord to the point of paralysis, with a prognosis of “less than a 10% chance” of him ever regaining feeling or control below his chest.

As someone who has always been extremely independent and has always taken care of himself, this creates quite a list of challenges for him at this point, especially over the next year or so. High on that list is the cost and logistics of transitioning himself, his home, and his newly adjusted lifestyle in the safest way possible.

Unfortunately, the way things are with insurance and public assistance programs, getting approval – and therefore, any actual help from these programs that are in any way complete solutions, even at the minimum – can, and does take quite some time. Even then, until final approval for anything, there is still the chance that certain things will not be approved, even though they are, in actuality, very necessary.

Through all this, we are doing everything in our power to get what he needs taken care of. Some amazing people have stepped up and are helping him find ways to get through this.

We are hoping that the insurance, along with some of the programs that he’s working on getting approved for will be able to take care of the obvious big-ticket items that he will absolutely need to simply get through each day – proper wheel chair, bed, portable lift (Hoyer, or similar), professional caregiver, etc. – but expedience seems to be lacking for some reason.

Not that it’s uncommon, but it still creates huge challenge and, to be frank, some very real dangers, when it comes to keeping him from developing more issues that could send him back to the hospital after his release from this hospital stay.

This is why we are reaching out. This is why we are now giving more details, and why I’m letting you know exactly who he is. We’ve come to to the point where our resources are running out faster than the clock allows to get these things done.


Of course, ANYTHING HELPS, no matter how small, and ALL help is greatly appreciated!

But I want to be clear that at this point we are ALSO reaching out to those who have the BIG things to contribute! Not one of the things we are waiting for approval on is something that we can afford otherwise, nor do we have any resources to find temporary solutions until they are (hopefully) approved.

Aside from those things, there are things that will likely NEVER be included in those programs that we also have run out of resources for.

The short list of current efforts is as follows:

  • Materials and help to convert the trailer he will be living in through his transition.
  • Skilled labor to actually do/help with the conversion.
  • Money to pay for anything that is not covered, that we don’t receive as a donated service or material.

These are the most critical things at the moment, because they are not even being considered as covered at this point in time, but they need to be done ASAP!

How much money we will need through all of this is currently an unknown amount, though I can tell you that it will be in the thousands, possibly tens of thousands, depending on how he does after release from the hospital.

Waiting for the insurance companies, government programs, and public assistance programs to finish flinging red tape at each other will put Lonnie’s well being at extreme risk through all of this if we do not at least get his basic needs taken care of. And most of those will not help with these particular needs anyway – they simply require them to be done. So, we’re doing the best we can with what we have, and asking for ANY help that you may be able to provide that will get us closer to a safe and, at least a minimally functioning home through all of this.

What most of us never think about until we have to deal with it in our own lives – things I am just now learning, myself – is that even the wrong wheelchair can put him back in the hospital with serious issues. That he may be waiting for some of this equipment well beyond his release date means that we have to make sure that we have everything else done that we can, so we are able to deal with those issues until their processes are completed.


NOTE: All online donations will be handled through the MidWestGlobal.com (Parent company to Reptile Bliss/Reptile Bliss Resort) promotional/fundraising services dept.

Donating through this link ensures that your funds will be earmarked and be used 100% toward the “Lift Up Lonnie effort”.

Thank you for your support!




At this point, Lonnie’s proposed release date is set for March 21st. As of now, we still do not have the help or resources to complete his home to a point of function by his release date (we’re not too concerned about “pretty” right now. We can get to that later). We DO have some amazing people that have stepped up to offer their help, be even THEY will need help to get it done in time, so we’re still reaching out for capable people and helpful resources to get his home ready.


  • Reinforcing floors to handle the added weight of the equipment Lonnie will need to function daily.
  • Widening/Adding doorways and removing the bathroom walls (to create roll-in accessibility).
  • Converting a regular trailer home bathroom tub/shower area into a roll-in shower.
  • Relocating toilet and bathroom sink to make them wheelchair accessible.
  • Ramp/platform for access to the trailer, and loading/unloading into vehicles.

That is the absolute minimum we need completed before he can come home. Things like shelves, kitchen upgrades, etc., can be done once these things are completed, and we absolutely welcome solutions and ideas toward those things too! But for now, we’re focusing on making it safe and functional for his initial transition period.

Having this particular list of projects completed before Lonnie comes home is critical because they are all things that are either needed for him to be able to physically enter the home (doorways/walls) or they are things that will not be able to be done with Lonnie and his necessary equipment there.


Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please share this with anyone that you think might be willing and able to help.

I will be updating this site with progress, and posting on FB when I can to update everyone.

HUGE THANKS to those who are already helping!


Click here for a little more about Lonnie



NOTE: All online donations will be handled through the MidWestGlobal.com (Parent company to Reptile Bliss/Reptile Bliss Resort) promotional/fundraising services dept.

Donating through this link ensures that your funds will be earmarked and be used 100% toward the “Lift Up Lonnie effort”.

Thank you for your support!