Aaron's Independence Van

Try to imagine being 17 in a wheelchair with no means of acting independently... Let your imagination run with that for a minute... OK, that's enough.
I am Aaron's friend, Ray Watson. Aaron and I play music together in our Church's Praise Band. We also hang out and try to stump each other with 70's and 80's pop/classic rock music trivia, as well as engage in just about any other goofy adolescent behavior befitting a couple of 17 year-olds. OK, so Aaron IS 17 years old and I only act like I am...

Aaron is growing up with Muscular Dystrophy . He has reached an age where independence is normally and naturally jerked away from parents by teenagers, and an incredible, scary, yet hopefully beautiful metamorphosis takes place where these "aliens" spread their wings and learn how to be themselves, developing the foundations that allow transition to adulthood. One more time, try to imagine being 17 in a wheelchair with no means of acting independently...
That's why we need to help Aaron get a mobility van that will accommodate his wheelchair. Then we are going to cruise. That’s right... concerts, festivals, conventions, jam sessions...  Yes, Mom and Dad, he will be home by 10:00 and yes he will call if any plans change. Yes he will keep his grades up so you don’t take the keys away. Yes he will continue to study his music and yes he will remember to thank God for his blessings. With His help, let’s do this.

*Facts about Aaron's situation your imagination may not have pictured:
- Aaron has reached young-man size (160 lbs).
- Aaron's body strength has been decimated by Muscular Dystrophy (extremely limited upper and lower body strength).
- Getting out of his wheel chair and into a conventional vehicle is a herculean task for him.
- Aaron and his parents are the first to arrive for any event and the last to leave (yes they are dedicated, but it also has a lot to do with the logistics required to mobilize).
- The Independence Van will allow Aaron to go up a ramp and into the vehicle without having to leave his wheelchair.
- An independence van is EXPENSIVE.  Only one vehcicle make, the Toyota Sienna, can be converted to accommodate Aaron's wheelchair. These converted vehicles run in excess of $60,000.
- Aaron and his family are not Medicaid eligible, nor do they meet any needs-based income thresholds for assistance from the Muscular Dystrophy Association or any other organization, public or private. They also cannot afford to go buy one of these vans...   Richard, Aaron's father, is going to act as beneficiary and withdraw the funds on behalf of Aaron.
- Our dream and prayer for Aaron is that he might someday be able to drive this vehicle himself.

Now that would be some serious independence...

Donations

  • Anonymous 
    • $85 (Offline)
    • 34 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 35 mos
  • Nana and Papa G 
    • $1,000 
    • 35 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $125 
    • 35 mos
  • TNG Energy Services 
    • $10,000 (Offline)
    • 35 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Ray Watson 
Organizer
Bakersfield, CA
Richard Thompson 
Beneficiary
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more