Online campaign raises funds for Falmouth man

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FALMOUTH — The family of a local man is trying to raise $50,000 for vital medical equipment.

Sarah Kopencey began a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for her father, Doug Arbo, who has been quadriplegic since he was 16. Arbo suffered a broken neck after diving into a shallow lake.

Kopencey, who lives in Connecticut, said she and her family are trying to raise funds towards the purchase of a specialized medical bed for Arbo. Arbo, 61, has been in a wheelchair for 45 years, which has taken a toll on his health.

In 2010, Kopencey said, her father had serious medical complications from pressure from sitting, causing him to develop a blood infection that nearly took his life. She said he can’t sit for more than a few hours a day, and must spend the majority of his time in bed.

However, spending that much time in one place is also a health risk, which is why Kopencey said her father needs the specialized bed to evenly distribute pressure and stimulate blood flow. The one Arbo has is beyond repair, she said.

Kopencey said her father worked as a computer programmer at Unum for 25 years, and has lived in Falmouth since the early 1980s. She said he can no longer work due to his injuries, which prevent him from sitting in a chair for eight hours a day.

“I think of him, and most people think of him as a fun-loving, charismatic, compassionate guy,” Kopencey said.

And though the situation is hard, Kopencey said her father tries to keep positive.

“Overall, my dad is very creative. He’s a dreamer, so he’s able to keep his spirits up with his sense of humor,” she said.

As of Monday, the campaign had raised more than $7,500. Kopency said she hasn’t come up with date the campaign will end, but said it would likely only continue for another month or two.

“I generally want to express out gratitude to the kindness we’ve already received,” said Kopency, which includes people who know Arbo and those who have never met him.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Falmouth resident Doug Arbo, center, has been in a wheelchair for more than 40 years. His daughter recently launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for a specialized medical bed.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.