I bought a used Toyota Commuter with wheelchair lift and restraints., funded through this campaign. The remaining money also allowed me to pay for insurance and cover a bit of the cost of two new rear tyres. The lift needs servicing yet, which may still be costly.
But here's the main point: a year ago, I was very scared. I'd tried to flee bushfires only to have my van break down. I'd been almost killed after breaking down on the M4. I turned to everyone out there to help regain my freedom, and you delivered in spades.
I absolutely must thank friends, family, and friends of friends and family for making this possible. I also need to give a big thank you to the Star Wars community and the community at the Straight Dope Message Board for really pulling through.
Everyone who donated, be it a donation of $5 or $500, you all helped to make this happen. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Photos and/or videos will be coming soon...
Thank you to all who have given generously to this campaign. The response has been amazing, but there's still a way to go yet.
In the last week we've hit maximum temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius (96 degrees Fahrenheit), which is dangerous for two reasons: 1) bushfires and 2) the van's unreliability in the heat. With the risk only getting higher as we move towards summer (which is still five weeks away) it's imperative that I get a new van soon.
Please share the link and keep people talking about this campaign. We really need all the help we can get.
With two days at least 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) last week and two more coming in the next week, things are definitely heating up. That means two things: increased risk of bushfire and increased risk of the van stalling during an evacuation, as happened this time last year.
We're slowly getting there with the fundraising. At over $20,000 raised so far, things are looking up. However, we still need a lot more if we're to reach our goal. Please keep getting the word out--the more exposure, the faster we'll reach our target!
Thanks again to everyone who has helped so far. Let's keep going and get this new van as soon as we can!
Great news, everyone! We've just crossed the $20,000 mark! That's about 27% of our goal.
If we can add another $2300, we'll be past 30%! Please continue to share the link so I can get these new wheels!
Hello everyone! It's been a while--we had to get a permit to continue, so now that that's sorted, we can continue with our quest.
The warmer weather has started to appear and it'll only get hotter. Reports are warning of the potential for another early bushfire season, and my current van is most likely to break-down on hotter days. Not a good combination, as I found out last year when I experienced a break-down while fleeing an oncoming fire.
In the coming weeks we'll recommence the organisation of a fundraiser. But in the meantime, keep sharing and passing the link around. We need all the exposure we can get.
We're fast approaching 25% of our target amount!
It looks like the modifications will be around $15k and the vehicle itself will cost $60k. In other words, the estimated target of $75k was surprisingly prescient. But we're a quarter of the way there!
Please keep sharing the link and getting the word out. We need to keep the momentum going. Who knows? The new van may be right around the corner!
It's been a while--I've been unwell for the last few weeks, fighting an infection.
Anyway, here's an update: We're currently in the process of getting quotes on a vehicle and modifications. Once we have a solid dollar amount, we'll put in place the final arrangements for the trivia night.
Things have been moving slowly, but we ARE making progress. Thanks again for all your support.
Keep forwarding the link, keep talking about the fundraiser, and we'll get there soon!
Well, I got Frank at FST Automotive in Penrith to look at my current van. He again replaced the ECU chip and said the new chip is a temporary fix--it could function for two weeks or two months, but given that this is the second ECU that's been fried, a new van is the only viable option long-term.
So last night we went to the movies. The feeling of being out again after five weeks at home was incredible. It was like seeing in colour for the first time.
I had just a brief taste of what the new van will give me. Freedom really is life-changing.
We're organising the upcoming event. Carole Hampshire has generously donated her book "Artists Observed" for the event, and momentum is picking up.
Stay tuned: more news will be forthcoming soon!
We've just crossed the $15,000 mark! You know, I think we may actually make it!
Everyone's been so supportive and I can't thank you all enough. 225 people have donated so far, and the link has been shared over 1400 times in less than four weeks.
So, we're 20% of the way to our current target figure. We've had no luck getting support from car dealerships, however, so we'll probably be buying the van the old fashioned way.
Again, thanks to everyone for your support. It means a lot.
Here's an update (in video form!) from myself and Estella, my fiancee...
My fiancee Estella and I give an update
The campaign has been running now for a week, and we've raised over $10,000 and been shared on social media over 1200 times!
We're almost 15% of the way to our target amount, but we're not nearly there yet. Please keep getting the word out--a van is still out of reach at this point.
We start Wednesday with over $10,000 and 1.1K shares across social media!
This is absolutely extraordinary. Please keep sharing the link and hassling the media for exposure. Every little bit helps!
We're starting Tuesday with a total of almost $9,000 in donations!
Thank you so much to everyone who has either given money or shared the link. Each day we get closer and closer to our goal, and I don't think the reality of it has fully hit me yet.
Please keep getting the word out! This really is social media at its best.
We're now listed as one of the most popular campaigns on GoFundMe's main page. Amazing! And we've been shared on Facebook over 900 times!
It's now the start of the working week here, so hopefully we can get the media's attention in the next few days. Many of us have contacted media outlets (to no avail, bar the Blue Mountains Gazette), but if you haven't already done so, let your voice be heard and tell them that this story has a lot of interest behind it!
And don't forget to share the link!
Take care, everyone, and thanks again for all your support.
Hi everyone! We're now over $8000! We're well on our way--this just keeps building and building.
We're thinking of running a fundraising event and we'd love to hear any ideas you may have. Tell us what you think!
We're over the $7,000 mark at this point! Wow!
That gets us about 15% of the way to actually buying a vehicle, prior to additional modifications. That's a fantastic start, but we've still got a long way to go yet. So any help you can provide will help us reach our goal.
Please keep sharing the link, and keep hassling the media and other organisations for exposure and/or donations. Let's keep the momentum going!
Since yesterday morning, we've raised over $5000, bringing the total to $6,490! Thank you once again to everyone who has given money.
However, a lot more is still needed. Even if you can't afford to give any money (and that's perfectly fine!) please continue to share the link. The most important thing is that we get the widest exposure possible.
Thank you again for all your generosity. :)
I can't believe it! We've surpassed $5000! Everyone has been amazing with their kind words and contributions. It means so much--I can't adequately express my gratitude.
Please keep passing the link around. And if there's someone you know personally who can help spread the word, let them know, too. Every little bit counts, believe me. :)
We've now got over 5% of the target amount! Thanks so much to everyone who has given so far. Please keep getting the word out.
We're trying to get the media involved, so if you have any contacts there, please let them know about this campaign.
We've just passed $2500! Thanks again to everyone! Keep sharing and getting the word out!
Thanks for the help so far! We're now at 2% of our target figure!
Keep sharing and passing the link along. Everything you do to get the word out gets me one step closer to having a new van!
We have made it past $1000! Wow! Sincere thanks to everyone who has donated so far... I really am humbled. You guys are really amazing.
I just want to publicly thank my brother Anthony Detterer for being the first to donate. He's a great brother but also a great friend.
My name is Dion Detterer. I have muscular dystrophy, so I use a wheelchair. I also use a ventilator 24/7.
The van I use for transportation isn't working any more. Last year it failed while I was evacuating during the October bushfires, and recently it died in 40 degree heat while I was coming home from a hospital visit. I was in extreme heat for over three hours, trying to figure out how to get home. In addition, a truck almost wiped me off the road while we were stopped on the side of the M4 motorway--not an ideal scenario.
I need a van I can use to get around where I don't risk killing myself, my carers or my loved ones, either through heat exhaustion, dehydration or an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.
I need to go to medical appointments, community functions and events for my university research. I'm a PhD student, and my research will help the scientific community discover the genetic basis of common diseases; if I had a working van, I'd find it easier to engage with other researchers--something I can't do physically right now.
I've known for a while that the van I have now is not safe for me to travel in, especially in the heat, but I simply have not been able to afford to replace
it. It's now 16 years old--I've spent years already trying to get this problem fixed, and for a while there, it was doing OK. Now, however, the problem has returned, worse than ever. It's obviously a recurring fault that will not go away.
That's why I'm asking the wider community for help.
The money raised will be used to buy a new van and outfit it with the necessary modifications for wheelchair access and travel, in order to give me the freedom others take for granted.
I hope you'll be able to help me achieve my goal.