‘I woke up unable to use my legs’: Indy woman defying the odds and looks forward to homeownership

Habitat for Humanity

INDIANAPOLIS – This Friday, FOX59 will be teaming up with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis to start building a home for one very deserving Hoosier.

Shennea Dixon has overcome tough challenges, but through her fight she’s found a way to also give back.

“Continue to take the steps to make sure your life is fulfilling just like anyone else would have to do,” said Dixon. She’s literally and figuratively taking those steps because of her positive attitude.

“My health is just at the forefront of everything,” said Dixon.

Dixon has a rare condition that caused her to develop tumors in her brain and spinal cord. In a matter of weeks, she had to move from her home and undergo surgery. When she woke up, her life changed forever.

“I woke up unable to use my legs essentially, and they were not expecting that to be the case,” she explained.

Dixon was told she would never walk again. But she’s defying the odds. She focused on her goals, worked hard and was able to move home and convert her mother’s garage into her own accessible studio apartment.

“Because that was on the main level and had the least barriers for accessibility, that’s where I took up residence,” said Dixon.

Along the way, Dixon gained a helpful companion, Renn, her service dog that she says has been instrumental in her recovery.

“So when I drop something, he can pick it up. If I dropped a crutch, he can pick it up even though I walk, I can’t feel my legs really well,” explained Dixon. “So if it comes to, if I step on something or just gradual changes in the ground, I can’t feel that.”

Her disability inspired her to speak out about accessibility and develop a non-medical home care company that could help people in her community.

“There was a point where i had to relearn all of the basics,” she said, “In a way it kind of gave me a purpose and I had a passion about it.”

Now, she’s ready for her next step. Dixon has been approved to help build her own home, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.  As part of the program, she’ll pay a down payment, invest 300 hours of sweat equity, and attend financial classes to set her up for success.

Dixon, couldn’t be more grateful.

“To be able to have a hand in actually building my own home, putting in the labor and the sweat equity to have a home so when it’s done – me and a crew of incredible volunteers built this ourselves,” said Dixon.

Dixon is expected to move into her home before Christmas.

Click here to learn more about Habitat for Humanity.

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