Dion Needs New Wheels!
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.
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...
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!
Hi Dion I have shared this on my facebook and hope to hear some good news with the van soon :) Belinda
Hi Dion I love the new campaign add its perfect. I have been personally to 2 dealers in Penrith telling your story & trying to get van either donated or at a much reduced cost am still waiting for some sort of reply. Doing everything I can think of. Hang in there
Hi Lucy, I've contacted both the president of the local Lions Club and Muscular Dystrophy Association of NSW; thus far, neither have responded. Rotary was to be my next stop, though I hadn't considered Variety. If you have any further advice, I'd be more than happy to listen.
Hi Dion. I truly hope that you are able to raise the money you need quickly to get yourself some reliable wheels. I'm no expert, but have worked with people in the past who have helped with fundraising for this sort of thing. I'm wondering whether you have approached fundraising or community groups to ask for assistance. I believe Variety may have schemes to partially fund transport, and sometimes local clubs such as Rotary and Lions are able to help too. There may be a little money out there for this sort of thing if you look in the right place. Very best wishes.
Hi Dion this is Alba [Monica 's mother] be assured that once I work out how to make a donation I will be happy to help. take care and don't give up God bless you
Hi Dion sorry to hear about the van I know how you rely on this transport. I will what I can do with contacts that I have & will donate as soon as I can. Take care Ali
Hi Dion, You are from faulco? I'm from Springwood. I am a Mechanic so if I can assist with getting your current ride reliable & safe for the time until you get new wheels the offer is there.
Hi Sue, the base vehicle would be something like a Toyota HiAce.
What type of van do you need Dion?
Wow you got it all up and running so fast!! We were only discussing this on Facebook yesterday. I hope all can dig deep and help out as it's such a worthy cause I went to high school with Dion he deserves all the help he can get..
I hope with all my heart this comes together for you Dion. You need these wheels as much as you deserve them. Best wishes to you and yours.