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Oshkosh veteran with MS stands for first time in 40 years

Posted: 10:40 PM, Feb 22, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-23 12:28:00-05

It's a moment John Green and his wife, Karen, will cherish forever. 

"It was pretty exciting," John says.

John, who has multiple scleroris, is standing for the first time in 40 years with the help of a new, electric wheelchair.
 
"It's like, wow, you're really a tall guy," chuckles Karen. "I saw a stand up chair at a handicapped show in Chicago about 30 years ago, and I've always wanted one for him, and I never thought we'd have one."  
 
But they do now, thanks to Tundraland Home Improvements'  Windows for a Cause  program. NBC26 first told you about the event last spring when the Kaukauna company invited community members to paint a design on old windows. Then, they auctioned off the works of art and raised $15,000 to purchase the specialized wheelchair for John who is a Vietnam War era veteran.
 
Tundraland Owner Brian Gottlieb says, "John Green is standing up off of windows that would normally go in the trash and that is absolutely magical." 
 
John had to work hard to get to this point. It took six months for him to build up enough strength to become fully upright.
 
Karen says, "I was really happy for him, but I was also worried. At that point, I'm worried like are his bones going to hold him?"
 
John adds, "I had a lot of spasms. I have such severe foot drop that it was really hard."
 
The VA clinic created specially made boots for John. He can now stand for a half hour and have a conversation eye to eye like he used to.
 
"His standing up, for him, was good for self esteem and all that kind of stuff. It's just good. He breathes better because of it," Karen explains.
 
John is so grateful for the life changing gift that he mailed a thank you letter to Gottlieb.
 
"It was a huge blessing that he gave me this."  
 
Gottlieb had the note framed, so he can hang it on his office wall. John's message inspires him to keep the fundraiser going in order to help another family.
 
"We're really grateful how the community continuously steps up, always willing to participate in helping out somebody else in the community. That's what makes northeast Wisconsin so special," says Gottlieb.
 
Karen is showing her appreciation by paying it forward. She plans to paint a window for this year's auction which is being held on April 25th at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton. Everyone is welcome to attend.