What are you thankful for?

Shawn is thankful to be home with his family.

Photo of Shawn surrounded by his family and dog. They are all wearing Seattle Seahawks clothing.
Shawn with his wife Rebecca, daughters Grace (17) and Clara Joy (9), and Murphy, his dog.

When Shawn Murinko, who lives with his wife and daughters in Thurston County, was admitted to the hospital to heal from an injury after trick or treating with his children on Halloween, he never imagined that he would be separated from his family, community, and job for eight months.

For more than two decades prior to his injury, Medicaid-funded support at home made it possible for Shawn to live in the community, work as a lawyer for Washington State, and build a family.

After six weeks in the hospital, Shawn was ready for discharge, but while he was in the hospital, the state had stopped paying for his in-home supports. Shawn was forced to live in the hospital for six more months, unable to return to his life, jeopardizing his ability to support his family, waiting for his home-based services to be re-instated, and violating his rights under the Medicaid Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“DRW has made a huge difference in my life and for others with developmental disabilities by holding Washington State accountable. Now I can live without the constant risk of getting stuck again in the hospital.”

– Shawn Murinko

Shawn turned to DRW for help, and together, we took action. In June 2019, Shawn returned home, but without the full support he needs and is entitled to, leaving him again at risk of institutionalization. Together DRW and Shawn filed a legal case to demand changes for Shawn and many people with developmental disabilities stuck in Washington hospitals just like Shawn.

In August 2020, we reached a settlement requiring changes to prevent Shawn and other individuals with developmental disabilities from suddenly losing the community based services they need to avoid institutionalization.

Together we’re making changes in Washington so that no one fears for their independence or right to a meaningful life, like Shawn. With your help, we are not alone. DRW is uniquely equipped to stop discrimination in its tracks through the power of advocacy, but we are only powerful when we come together as a community. 

Help us to continue this work together. Together we can protect and advance the rights of more than 1.7 million people with disabilities in Washington.

Make your donation online today or by mailing it to DRW, 315 5th Avenue South, Ste. 850, Seattle, WA 98104.

If you have any questions, please contact Stacie Siebrecht at 206.324.1521 or stacies@dr-wa.org.

Thank you for your support.

With gratitude,

Shawn Murinko
Mark Stroh, Executive Director

P.S. Now with the risk of COVID-19, the dangers of institutionalization are even greater and these changes all the more critical. Learn more about DRW’s work during COVID-19.