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Nick Dupree Fought To Live ‘Like Anyone Else’

Nick Dupree arrives during a Federal Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala. on Feb. 11, 2003. His success in removing a state to continue support past age 21 enabled him to attend college and live in his possess home.

Jamie Martin/AP


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Jamie Martin/AP

Nick Dupree arrives during a Federal Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala. on Feb. 11, 2003. His success in removing a state to continue support past age 21 enabled him to attend college and live in his possess home.

Jamie Martin/AP

Disability rights regretful Nick Dupree died final weekend. Tomorrow would have been his 35th birthday.

Back in 2003, he told NPR: “I wish a life. we only wish a life. Like anyone else. Just like your life. Or anyone else’s life.”

He got that life.

Dupree had a serious neuromuscular illness and was vital in Mobile, Ala. He was in a wheelchair and depended on a respirator to breathe. The state paid for nurses to come into his home — even take him to college classes. But that caring was about to finish a day he incited 21. He faced going to a nursing home, where he feared he would die.

Every state has a module that pays for caring for exceedingly infirm children to live during home, yet not each state continues that caring into adulthood. When Dupree was 19, he started Nick’s Crusade — an online debate to change a manners in Alabama.

Just a few days before his 21st birthday, he won. In 2008, he motionless to pierce to New York City.

“I assisted him relocating to New York, that was very, really frightful for me,” says Dupree’s mother, Ruth Belasco. “But, we figured that his fun would transcend my fear.”

In New York, Dupree done friends. He went to museums. He could pierce only a tip of his ride and his index finger. And if someone placed his palm on a mechanism lane ball, he could draw. That’s how he done online comic books that reflected his quirky humor.

Dupree combined webcomics — spasmodic featuring Theodore Roosevelt and zombies — that reflected his quirky humor.



Superdude Comics/Courtesy of Alejandra Ospina

Like Theodore Roosevelt and a Rough Riders contra Zombies.

Something else happened in New York, too:

“It was only smashing that he fell in love,” Belasco says. “And it was a smashing story. And it was something that he always hoped for; [he was a] really regretful immature man and he indeed found someone who desired him and he desired in return.”

He’d met a adore of his life — Alejandra Ospina — online. Their marriage rite was in Central Park.

“We had vows. We had lots of people,” says Ospina, who has intelligent palsy and also uses a wheelchair. “There was food. And it was really breezy that day, that didn’t play good with a ventilators. But it was all right.”

Still, like many other people with disabilities, they didn’t legally marry. If they had, their incomes would have been counted together, and Medicaid would have cut Nick’s benefits.

“He lived with me in an unit in a village for 7 years and 8 months,” Ospina says.

She knows accurately since that’s how Nick — who wasn’t ostensible to live past his 21st birthday — counted time.

A section Dupree wrote about his life and struggles was enclosed in a incapacity rights anthology.

Courtesy of Alejandra Ospina


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Courtesy of Alejandra Ospina

A section Dupree wrote about his life and struggles was enclosed in a incapacity rights anthology.

Courtesy of Alejandra Ospina

The finale to Nick’s story, though, isn’t a happy one.

The people who desired him finished adult feeling infirm and guilty. Providing a round-the-clock caring became difficult. When nurses didn’t uncover adult for their shifts, Ospina and Dupree would quarrel over caregiving.

They distant final open and Dupree motionless to pierce to a sanatorium — a place he’d attempted to equivocate his whole life.

A Medicaid Victory

In a past 10 months, he changed between a sanatorium and nursing homes. He got pneumonia and bed sores.

“Each time he got ill again, it would be worse and worse and worse,” Belasco says. “And his ability to withstand that only ran out.”

Belasco says she wanted her son to come home to Alabama. But that wasn’t easy. She already cares for his younger hermit who has a same disease. She takes a night change 7 nights a week, sleeping during a day.

And afterwards final week, Nick fell ill with sepsis and heart problems. He died during a sanatorium in New York City.